Flipping ‘eck, is it Pancake Day again? Don’t lose your crepes, my Pancake Day in London 2016 guide gives you the lowdown on where to go for pancake races and pancake eating across town. And there’s a fool-proof pancake recipe below for those who want to toss their own.
PANCAKE DAY EVENTS
It’s time for crepe tossers from across the city to get hot to trot from Old Truman Brewery for the Great Spitalfields Pancake Race. The annual showcase has teams of 4 racing up and down Dray Walk, raising funds for London Air Ambulance. 91 Brick Lane, E1 6QL (Shoreditch High St overground) From 12.30pm, FREE (Feb 9)
City of London
Back for another fun morning out with teams of 4 flipping out at the Leadenhall Market Pancake Race. Champions get free dinner and frying pan trophy! And there’s all you can eat pancakes for spectators at the Lamb Tavern. From 11am, race starts 1pm at the Lamb Tavern, 10-12 Leadenhall Market St, EC3V 1LR (Feb 9)
Watch MPs, Lords and media types compete with pans in hand and crepes in the air at the annual Rehab Parliamentary Pancake Race, outside Houses of Parliament, Victoria Tower Gardens, SW1P 3JA. From 10am, FREE (Feb 9)
This year the Better Bankside Pancake Race happens from Marlborough Sports Playground, SE1 (Borough/London Bridge tube) with teams going all out for Painting in Hospitals charity. There will be food stalls and a hive of activities happening there throughout the day too. Have a wander of nearby Borough Market after, if you’re not too stuffed. 12.30pm onwards, FREE (Feb 9)
The signature Mardi Gras rum punch and live DJs make Pancake Day at Shutterbug London a bubbly Dates with Dads activity. Or come early with the kids and grab either American pancake stacks or French galettes, available in-house or takeaway. Also suitable for older kids, but a little crowded for wee ones. At 1 Rivington Place, EC2A 3BA (Old St tube). From 9am (Feb 17)
PANCAKE DAY MENUS
Dine in at this classic restaurant for galettes made with 100% buckwheat flour, as well as traditional crepes both soft and crispy. Waffles and homemade ice cream available if you really want to push the boat out! At Kensington’s Cafe Creperie on 2-6 Exhibition Rd, SW7 2HF (South Kensington tube).
Hoxton (and multiple locations)
The super cool The Breakfast Club on 2-4 Rufus St, N1 6PE will be dishing out its annual Pancake Eating Challenge (Feb 9). If you don’t fancy gobbling 12 pancakes in 12 minutes or less, you can still pace yourself with usual Breakfast Club classic American pancakes, and a limited edition menu (Feb 8-14). Pancake Races are also planned at branches in Hoxton, Canary Wharf and Battersea. 8am until late, pancake races from 7.30pm (Old St tube)
Head east to Pancake Day at the Water Poet in Spitalfields where you’re invited to get battered between dry January and Lent, with indulgent savoury (fried buttermilk chicken and smoked mayo? Yum!) and sweet crepes. At The Water Poet, 9-11 Folgate St, E1 6BX (Liverpool St tube). Served 12-9.30pm (Feb 9)
Satisfy your pancake cravings between shopping at Crêpeaffaire in Westfield Stratford City or branches also in Islington, Wimbledon, Chiswick, Westfield White City, Soho, Spitalfields and Stanstead Airport.
The Diner on 21 Essex Road, N1 2SA (more branches in Shoreditch, Soho, Camden, Kensal Rise) presents its all-day Pancake Day menu, with fluffy buttermilk pancakes and a variety of delicious toppings.(Angel tube)
The King’s Road staple, My Old Dutch has been flipping for customers over 54 years. You can try a range of pancakes from crepes, galettes and American style to the delicious Dutch mini pancakes or poffertjes. Go to branches in Kensington and Holborn or find the original restaurant at 221 Kings Rd, SW3 5EJ (Sloane Square tube)
Also in Chelsea, check out neighbourhood/bar restaurant No 11 Pimlico, SW1W 8NA (Sloane Square tube), a new addition to our guide that’s launched a delicious sounding menu specially for Pancake Day. Try a traditional lemon juice and muscovado sugar topping, or the indulgent banana and peanut butterscotch or if savoury’s more your style, sample the smoked salmon and avocado, or wild mushroom and goat’s cheese. You’ll find the same menu at sister branches No 32 The Old Town (Clapham) and No 1 Duke Street (Richmond).
Simple Pancake Recipe
This recipe has been cobbled together from a variety of online recipes and trial and error. Pancakes rely on 3 ingredients, but when you’re making pancakes think of it as if you’re launching in beta (e.g. prepare for the first couple to go a bit wonky) before you get the formula right.
You can adjust the measurements according to how many pancakes you’d like to make, and cook in a regular frying pan, heavy bottom pan or a crepe maker.
125g (about 1 mug) plain flour
1 mug of milk (about 250ml)
2 tablespoons of melted butter
Pinch of salt (optional)
Pour flour into a bowl, make a hole in the middle. Whisk egg and some of the milk together and add to the flour, whisking as you go. Add remaining milk, plus some of the melted butter and mix until the consistency of the batter is between single and double cream. I like to add a drop of vanilla essence at this point.
Apparently you’re meant to let the batter stand for at least 30 minutes, although I’m not sure we’ve ever been this patient!
Heat crepe maker, or pan brushed with remainder of butter.
Ladle 2-3 tablespoons of batter onto your crepe maker and spread with spatula, or pour into pan and tilt until it’s even. Let it cook until you see little bubbles on the surface and the edges are curling up. Flip in the pan or use the spatula. Cook the other side briefly (30 secs) until golden, then serve.
Our favourite toppings and fillings include Nutella, lemon juice and sugar, maple syrup (or golden syrup if we’re feeling naughty), bananas or strawberries and vanilla ice cream with chocolate or toffee sauce!
Pancake race photo by Pedro Figueiredo, via Wikimedia Commons