If you’re in London on Tuesday 4th March, why not check out one of the capital’s many excellent cafés, crêperies, diners and restaurants that offer pancakes on their menu? Whether you’re a fan of fluffy, syrup-topped pancakes in the American breakfast style, or prefer a sweet or savoury crepe with an assortment of tasty fillings, there’s a pancake shop for you. Read on for more about this delicious holiday and the best places to indulge your pancake craving…
The origins of Pancake Day
For Christians, Shrove Tuesday is the last day before Lent, a period of fasting when many of the faithful abstain from rich food and drink. In some countries, Shrove Tuesday is known as Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday”, as it was traditionally the day when people indulged in all the delicious foods they were about to give up.
This perhaps also explains how pancakes came to be associated with the day. Pancake recipes are a great way to use up milk, butter, eggs, sugar and other ingredients that were frowned upon during Lent – allowing people to clean out their cupboards before settling into their restricted Lenten diet.
Where to eat pancakes in London
Nowadays, you could easily take the concept a step further by loading up your pancakes with a selection of lavish toppings, from the traditional sugar and lemon juice combo, to jam, custard, whipped cream, maple syrup, chocolate sauce, ice cream, chopped nuts and fresh fruit – not to mention bacon, cheese and other savoury ingredients!
If this piques your imagination (and your taste buds), we’ve compiled a list of some of the best places to get pancakes in London – we’d also love to hear your suggestions in the comments below:
La Petite Bretagne
With authentic Breton galettes served in a cheerful, airy space, La Petite Bretagne offers a little taste of Brittany in Hammersmith. Their savoury crepes (made with gluten-free buckwheat flour) are surprisingly filling, and will put to rest any misconceptions about crepes being too insubstantial for lunch. Be adventurous and order the Savoyarde (raclette, gherkin, ham, potato and onion) or try a dessert crepe – salted caramel, white chocolate and chestnut jam are amongst the mouth-watering options.
The Lounge at The Grosvenor Hotel
Fancy treating yourself to pancakes in an elegant setting? The light and airy Lounge at The Grosvenor Hotel is a stylish yet relaxing place to enjoy breakfast – including a classic stack of pancakes served the North American way, with delicious maple syrup and your choice of sweet cured bacon or fresh berries. It’s a great way to while away a peaceful morning, and the extensive breakfast menu means there are lots of options even for those who may want something other than pancakes.
Shutterbug Bar & Crêperie
This trendy but casual Shoreditch eatery pairs cocktails and pancakes to great effect – it’s the perfect place for a weekend pick-me-up. Their crepes come in savoury and sweet versions stuffed with some really innovative taste combinations – think a gluten-free buckwheat crepe with seared chorizo, cheddar, avocado and chilli jam for lunch, or a red velvet crepe with chocolate, mascarpone and strawberries for a more indulgent afternoon treat.
Riding House Café
For fluffy, American-style buttermilk pancakes, head to this rustic-chic brasserie in Fitzrovia. Topped with berries, maple syrup and vanilla clotted cream, a stack of these hearty pancakes makes for a substantial start to the day. Cosy up at your own table for the morning, or join the crowd at the long communal dining table. If you’re dining with non-pancake fanciers, there are plenty of other options on the menu, too – with everything from substantial main courses to light snacks, cocktails and desserts.
A handsome grand café in the continental style, The Delaunay has a conveniently central location just off The Strand, and a massive selection of breakfast dishes from around the world – including pancakes (or waffles, if you prefer) served with such delectable toppings as the classic maple syrup and bacon, blueberries and crème fraiche, or plum and cinnamon compote. It’s a sophisticated way to enjoy your favourite dish, and a great excuse to sample the range of pastries, sausages and other European specialties on offer.
What is your favourite pancake place in London?