Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day, Fat Tuesday – however you refer to it, the annual Shrovetide tradition falls today and we can’t wait to get flipping.
If you don’t want to make your own though, here’s a handful of the best places in London for some delectable thin and crispy crepes, or a stack of fat ‘n fluffy American-style pancakes. Get ready for some serious tossing…
Creme de la Crepe
After a highly successful stint with a stall at Borough Market – the ultimate destination for food-obsessed Londoners – Creme de la Crepe set up its first shop in Covent Garden Piazza, right in the heart of London’s tourist zone. Having travelled to France to master the art of the authentic French crepe, owner Nick Willoughby and his team created a gourmet menu of sweet and savoury varieties, along with a healthy range of fresh fruit smoothies and salads to assuage any gluttony guilt.
Make sure you pay extra special attention to your crockery when you visit – every dish is served on a celebrity-designed plate from unique artwork charity Whatever It Takes, with hand-drawn designs from the likes of Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, Claudia Schiffer and Gwen Stefani.
Unit 29, The Piazza, Covent Garden with a second store at 23 Cromwell Place, South Kensington
The Kensington Creperie
Spitting distance from the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Royal Albert Hall, the Natural History Museum and Harrods, and just a two-minute walk from South Kensington tube, this well-established Parisian-inspired creperie is an ideal jumping off point for those on the culture trail.
For a savoury treat, try the best-selling Portuguese Crepe – loaded with salted cod, garlic, potatoes, olive oil and white wine, and if you’ve room, finish up with the extravagant Banane Quebec: banana and walnuts, loads of cream and maple syrup and a dash of cointreau (a bit more than a dash, actually). Alternatively, get some plain ones to take away and head to the Creperie’s new and fabulous ice-cream parlour next door, where you’ll be able to choose a topping from 24 different flavours of Italian gelato.
2 – 6 Exhibition Road, Kensington
Since opening their first shop in Hammersmith in 2004 Crepeaffaire have expanded across town, and now have several stores throughout London including Soho and Spitalfields, and another inside the beautifully renovated St. Pancras station.
This is the place to come for the classics – the perennially popular Mellow Yellow (butter, sugar and lemon) and Nutella are the answer to the minimalist’s pancake prayers – no more or less than what is required and perfectly cooked to boot. But if you’d secretly rather have what she’s having then why not give the I’ll Have What She’s Having (fresh strawberries, belgian chocolate and freshly whipped cream) a try.
St. Pancras Station, Soho (Wardour St), Old Spitalfields Market, Hammersmith, Bluewater and Westfield shopping centres.
My Old Dutch
My Old Dutch has been established in London since 1958 and there are now three restaurants across town – in Kensington, Holborn and Chelsea. A relaxed, warm and buzzy atmosphere makes them popular with families, and indeed they can all be hired as venues for children’s parties too.
As to be expected, pancakes, waffles and poffertjes (miniature Dutch pancakes ideal for sharing) make up the bulk of the menu, though those watching their waistlines could always opt for a virtuous spinach salad. Bearing in mind that Pancake Day is supposed to be all about feasting though, might we suggest the Amsterdammer:a crisp golden crepe stuffed with smoked bacon, sautéed apple and smothered in maple syrup – washed down with one of the range of quirky fruit beers, such as the Floris Ninkenberry or the Boon Kriek Cherry.
16 Kensington Church Street, Kensington / 131-132 High Holborn, Holborn / 221 Kings Road, Chelsea
Lucky Seven Diner
If you’re a fan of the classic American diner then you’ll know that it can be hard to find a truly authentic take on the concept outside of US borders. Lucky Seven is admittedly tiny, and slightly off the tourist trail in the Westbourne Park end of Notting Hill, but its retro diner decor and menu have led to claims of a cult following, which appear to be true – the place is always teeming.
Although it’s the all-American breakfast we’re interested in right now – light, fluffy buttermilk pancakes served in a stack, covered in blueberries and drenched in maple syrup – there’s also a wide selection of sky high sandwiches and burgers, fries and onion rings, thick shakes, coke floats, sodas and malts on offer.
Know of any more fanastic pancake parlours or creperies in London? Share them with us in the comments below.