The combination of Pancake Day and Valentine’s Day on successive nights could either go really well or really badly.
Still, if we were to choose, we’d absolutely put these two days of excess this way around.
You’ve already made a booking for Wednesday night, presumably off the back of our Valentine’s Day tips, but you’ve decided to keep your options open for Shrove Tuesday.
Now, as the day draws ever closer, you still haven’t made the crucial choice: sweet, savoury or both.
Don’t worry, we’ve got your back.
Breakfast Club – Pizza Pancake
Pizza Pilgrims’ Nduja pizza is one of London’s best, so the prospect of them teaming up with The Breakfast Club on a pancake day special certainly piqued our interest. Buffalo mozzarella, nduja sausage, basil, chili and extra virgin olive oil, all flowing through a stack of delicious savoury pancakes.
thebreakfastclubcafes.com - Various locations
Café Route – Tahini and Pekmez pancake
This Dalston café has an excellent breakfast-brunchy-type menu with a mediterranean flavour – think lots of halloumi and olives – and that includes this pancake. Tahini and pekmez (a syrup used in Turkish cuisine) combine with pistachios and clotted cream for a dish that’ll make you feel like you’re on the first morning of a holiday around the Bosphorus.
caferoute.co.uk - Dalston Square E8
La Crêperie de Hampstead – Belgian chocolate and butter
I used to spend a lot of time at this particular crêperie, by virtue of (a) growing up in North London and (b) really liking pancakes. It’s a tiny little pancake hutch which always has a queue going round the corner, and they chuck salted butter in their Belgian chocolate crêpes for that added bit of decadence.
hampsteadvillagelondon.com - Hampstead High Street, NW3
Hoppers – Egg Hopper
Yes, Hoppers absolutely counts as a pancake house and I’ll fight anyone who disagrees. If we’re allowing American and European specialities, doing the same for Sri Lanka (and other countries – more on that later) is just fine too. The restaurant, with two branches in Central London, serves dosas and hoppers, and you’re not going to turn down something that looks this good.
hopperslondon.com - Various locations
Jackson + Rye – Bacon and Maple
American-style pancakes aren’t everyone’s preference, but there will always be times when they hit the spot better than their thinner, subtler French and Dutch cousins. Jackson + Rye, the New York-style brasserie with five branches in and around London, brings together that can’t-go-wrong combo of bacon, blueberries and maple syrup.
jacksonrye.com - Various locations
Mac & Wild – Deep fried Mars bar pancake
The Scots know their pancakes, having invented their own version not too far from the American standard, and Mac & Wild have somehow made their Shrove Tuesday special even more Scottish. ‘How?’, I hear you ask – well, they’ve added that Scottish delicacy of deep fried Mars bar bits, along with salted caramel ice cream, whisky toffee sauce, and bacon. Hope you don’t have much planned for Valentine’s Day after giving this a spin.
macandwild.com - Various locations
Mason & Company – Ricotta pancakes with berries and mascarpone
Mason & Company has an Italian-American kitchen run by street food pros Capish?, which means the best quality Italian cheeses in sweet and savoury dishes. In addition to the berry and mascarpone version, there’s a Shrove Tuesday special with Italian fried chicken – and these guys know how to do Italian fried chicken.
masonandcompany.co.uk - East Bay Lane, E20
Mamie’s – Bonaparte
To quote the lead in our favourite February film, Groundhog Day’s Phil Connors, it’s coooold out there. That means you’ll want the best French estimation of comfort food, namely a crêpe with cheese, ham, potatoes and onions. This tastes of that elusive odour you get a whiff of when you’ve just started your first ski run of the day and instantly regret not having a bigger breakfast.
mamies.co.uk - Catherine Street, WC2B
Le Merlin – Confit Duck
Clapton’s Le Merlin does things the traditional way, with buckwheat gallettes for savoury fillings and crêpes for the sweet stuff like caramel or Nutella. But there’s nothing ordinary about their confit duck delicacy, complete with a blue cheese sauce, truffle flavoured honey and caramelised onions.
lemerlin.co.uk - Lower Clapton Road, E5
My Old Dutch – Banana, nuts and chocolate sauce
One of London’s oldest pancake houses, My Old Dutch has moved with the times to add increasingly extravagant sweet pancakes to its menu. But sometimes simple is better, and you can’t go wrong with the classic combo of banana, nuts and chocolate sauce. It’s basically an ice cream sundae with a pancake instead of a glass, and you can’t eat glass so this is automatically better.
myolddutch.com - Various locations
Okan – Pork and kimchi okonomiyaki
We’re well aware that we’ve neglected Japanese pancakes up to this point, but that neglect ends now. Okan, in Brixton Village, specialises in okonomiyaki with a variety of toppings to choose from. You’ll want to get the pork and kimchi one, though – just trust us.
okanbrixtonvillage.com - Atlantic Road, SW9
La Petite Bretagne – Galette Complète
Sure, sometimes you want as many ingredients as possible in a dish, but there’s an argument for saying the best pancake combo is one of the oldest and simplest. Ham, cheese, egg and a bit of salt and pepper. It’s both the saviour of hangovers and a light meal on its own, and frankly what else do you need?
lapetitebretagne.co.uk - Various locations
Where the Pancakes Are – Dutch Baby
Look at that, would you. It’s like a regular pancake, but bigger and – by extension – better. The Dutch Baby, as well as having an awesome name and being almost too beautiful to eat, comes in sweet and savoury varieties. The former involves apples and berries, while the latter is chock full of cheese, a second cheese, and then a third cheese.
wherethepancakesare.com – Southwark Bridge Road, SE1
(Main image: Where the Pancakes Are; other images: Instagram)