Shrove Tuesday (17 February) – or Pancake Day, as it’s more commonly known – is nearly upon us. So whether you’re about to give up sweet treats for Lent and need a pancake binge before you fast, or you just want to indulge with everyone else around the city, here are the top three places to eat pancakes and catch some of the action in London.
The Breakfast Club
If you want to step back in time and enjoy Pancake Day as a child/teenager again, then head back to the ’80s and ’90s at retro-themed The Breakfast Club in Spitalfields. It’s a cool 24-hour diner that dishes up sweet and savoury American-style pancakes all day long. You order the ham so eggsited (get it?) and enjoy pancakes with ham, egg, cheddar, and maple syrup; while a friend opts for the carb-heavy all American, which comes with eggs, sausage, bacon, maple syrup, and fried potatoes. Once you’ve had your fill, head down to the nearby Old Truman Brewery for The Great Spitalfields Pancake Race at 12:30 p.m. Here you find teams of four in fancy dress crazily racing each other and down Dray Walk with their pancakes up to raise funds for London’s Air Ambulance.
For those of you who prefer your pancakes in a grander setting, go to The Delaunay on the Aldwych. Inspired by Grand European cafés, it boasts luxurious green leather banquette seating, dark wood, antique mirrors, brass rails, and a black and white marble floor. Meet up with a friend and come here for a pre-work breakfast, where you can both enjoy sweet pancakes with maple syrup and bacon, blueberries and crème fraîche, or cranberry and pear compote. Perch at The Counter if you’re in a hurry, or take your time and people-watch by a window in the main dining room. If you want a giggle afterwards, jump on the bus to Victoria Tower Gardens in Westminster, where a Parliamentary Pancake Race – beginning at 10:20 a.m. – sees MPs, Lords, and members of the press flipping pancakes for the charity Rehab.
If you can’t fit pancakes in during the week, just wait for the weekend, when you can literally eat them all day. Make a beeline south of the river and visit M1LK, an Australian-run café in Balham that is growing ever more popular, largely due to its weekend pancakes. Its laid-back atmosphere and fantastic record collection help you and your buddies relax after a hectic week – and not feel guilty for eating its rather delicious, gluten-free buckwheat pancakes. The toppings change each week, but have previously included Yorkshire forced rhubarb with strawberries; honey mascarpone, raspberries, and whey crunch; and Sussex Downs crème fraîche and coconut sugar. Suddenly, pancakes are good enough to eat all year round…