Holy crepe, Pancake Day is upon us again my friends! Every Shrove Tuesday, I put out a pancake day guide and I’ll be updating it annually with links to the best pancake races, pancakes and crepes across London. Scroll down for a fool-proof pancake recipe if you want to get tossing in your own kitchen!
PANCAKE DAY LONDON EVENTS – UPDATED FOR 2019
There are medals up for grabs for the best tossers at the Greenwich Market Pancake Race. Fancy dress optional and donations to The Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice. From 12pm at Greenwich Market, SE10 9HZ (Greenwich DLR) (Mar 2 & 5)
City of London
Teams from the City Livery Company of Poulters, the Old Bailey, Mansion House and Guildhall and Old Bailey compete in teams of four, wearing a mix of fancy dress and full regalia, to win a commemorative frying pan. Funds raised for the Lord Mayor’s Charity. 11.30am-3pm at Guildhall Yard, EC2V 5AA (Bank/St Paul’s tube); FREE (Mar 5)
Once again, the Leadenhall Market Pancake Race sets 4 teams against each other in a rush to the finish. Winners get a free meal and frying pan trophy. Spectators win too with all you can eat pancakes at the Lamb Tavern. From 11am, race starts 1pm at the Lamb Tavern, 10-12 Leadenhall Market St, EC3V 1LR (Mar 5)
The Better Bankside Pancake Day race takes place from Marlborough Sports Playground, SE1 (Borough/London Bridge tube) with teams racing to raise funds for the charity Painting in Hospitals. Look out for food stalls and fun activities scheduled for the day. And if you’re not too full of fluffy pancakes, scope out Borough Market for foodie treats afterwards. 12.30pm-2pm, FREE (Mar 5)
PANCAKE DAY MENUS
Angel (and multiple locations)
Ultra cool spot The Breakfast Club on 2-4 Rufus St, N1 6PE pulls off another Pancake Day to remember. This year’s menu honours fast food giants like Kentucky Fried chicken and Chinese takeout (Crispy Duck pancakes). And don’t miss their annual ‘eat a stack of 12 in 12 minutes’ pancake eating contest (if you fail, you pay the price!). Pancake Club also at branches in Hoxton, Croydon, Canary Wharf, Soho, Spitalfields, Hackney Wick, London Bridge, Battersea. Pancakes available 8am until late, pancake races from 7.30pm (Old St tube)
New on our list but clearly an essential addition, Where the Pancakes Are is calling our name this Pancake Day. The Flat Iron Square destination serves up fluffy buttermilk American pancakes with all manner of toppings. There’s a Children’s Menu too. 8am-6pm (Mon-Wed), 8am-9pm (Thu-Fri), 9am-9pm (Sat), 9am-6pm (Sun). At Arch 35a, 85a Southwark Bridge Road, SE1 0NQ (London Bridge/Borough/Southwark tube)
Popular steakhouse Smith and Wollensky is challenging guests to Eat Your Height in Pancakes in 60 minutes on Shrove Tuesday. Successful diners walk out without paying, while others get charged £1 per pancake. Probably best for your tiny feeders, rather than your giant Uncle Ed. If it all sounds too much, tuck into their all-day menu of blueberry pancakes. 12pm-11pm (Mon-Fri), 12pm-12pm (Sat); £1 per pancake. At Smith and Wollensky, Adelphi Building, 1-11 John Adam St, WC2N 6HT (Charing Cross tube) (Mar 5)
The staple restaurant for traditional crepes (soft and crispy style) and galettes made with 100% buckwheat flour. Indulge yourself further with waffles and homemade ice cream! At Kensington’s Cafe Creperie on 2-6 Exhibition Rd, SW7 2HF (South Kensington tube).
Go east to the Water Poet in Spitalfields where you can get battered between dry January and Lent, with savoury and sweet crepes. Sadly, just heard this pub is slated to close so it might be your last chance for Pancake Day here. At The Water Poet, 9-11 Folgate St, E1 6BX (Liverpool St tube). Served 12-9.30pm (Mar 5)
Shop yourself silly, then fill your belly with fluffy pancakes from Crêpeaffaire in Westfield Stratford City or branches also in Islington, Box Park Shoreditch, Wimbledon, Chiswick, Westfield White City, Soho, Spitalfields and Stanstead Airport.
We love The Diner on 21 Essex Road, N1 2SA (more branches in Shoreditch, Soho, Camden, Kensal Rise) where you can order from their all-day Pancake Day menu, featuring buttermilk pancakes and a range of yummy toppings. (Angel tube)
Other great spots for yummy pancakes in my hood: the delicious Sunday brunch spot in Barnsbury (prepare for weekend queues!), and stacks of American pancakes with bacon at Little Bat, off Upper Street, N1.
King’s Road institution My Old Dutch has been serving the neighbourhood for over 54 years. Flip out for crepes, galettes and American pancakes, as well as Dutch mini pancakes or poffertjes (yum!). Visit branches in Kensington and Holborn or stick with the original restaurant at 221 Kings Rd, SW3 5EJ (Sloane Square tube)
Stay in Chelsea to explore bar/restaurant No 11 Pimlico, SW1W 8NA (Sloane Square tube), that offers an exotic line-up for Pancake Day. Select from options including banana and ricotta or kimchee pancakes. Find a similar menu at sister branches No 32 The Old Town (Clapham) and No 1 Duke Street (Richmond) and No 197 Chiswick Fire Station (Chiswick).
Easy Pancake Recipe
I cobbled this recipe together through a process of trial and error, after checking out different ones online. Essentially, pancakes rely on 3 ingredients and the best advice is to ‘launch in beta’ (i.e. allow for the first couple of pancakes not to work out) before you hit on the right formula.
Feel free to adjust the measurements below depending on how many pancakes you’re making. You can cook these in a standard frying pan, a heavy bottomed pan or a fancy shmancy crepe maker.
125g (about 1 mug) plain flour
1 mug of milk (about 250ml)
2 tablespoons of melted butter
Pinch of salt (optional)
Sift the flour into a bowl, making a well in the centre. Whisk egg and part of the milk together then add this to the flour, whisking steadily as you go. Add the rest of milk, along with some of melted butter and keep mixing until the batter is a consistency between single and double cream. At this point, I add a drop of vanilla essence.
They say you should let the batter stand for 30 minutes minimum, although I don’t think we’ve ever had the patience for this!
Heat your crepe maker or your pan (brushed with the rest of the butter).
Ladle 2-3 tablespoons of batter onto the crepe maker and spread it round with a spatula, or pour into the pan and tilt until it’s evenly spread. Let it cook until you see tiny bubbles on the surface and the edges begin to curl up. Use the spatula to turn it or have a go at flipping it in the pan (flipping is much more fun for the kids!). Cook on the other side briefly (30 seconds) until golden, then serve.
What toppings do you like on your pancakes? We love Nutella, orange or lemon juice and sugar, maple syrup (or golden syrup if we’re being naughty), bananas or strawberries plus vanilla ice cream with toffee or chocolate sauce!
Pancake race photo by Pedro Figueiredo, via Wikimedia Commons