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 RACES AND EVENTS (UPDATED FOR 2020)
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) (Feb 25)
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. 10.30am-2.30pm at Guildhall Yard, EC2V 5AA (Bank/St Paul’s tube); FREE (Feb 25)
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 12pm-4pm at the Lamb Tavern, 10-12 Leadenhall Market St, EC3V 1LR (Feb 25)
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. 12pm-2pm, FREE (Feb 25)
PANCAKE DAY MENUS
Angel (and multiple locations)
Ultra cool spot The Breakfast Club on 2-4 Rufus St, N1 6PE (Old St tube) pulls off another Pancake Day to remember. This year’s menu honours pub grub with pancake themes including Ham Egg and Chips, Vegan Bangers and Mash, and Lemon Meringue Mess. 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 (Feb 24-Mar 1)
Hot on our list, Where the Pancakes Are at Arch 35a, 85a Southwark Bridge Road, SE1 0NQ (London Bridge/Borough/Southwark tube) is serving up another delicious all day menu for Pancake Day. The Flat Iron Square Apres Ski Lodge will provide extra seating, so you can get your pancake fix. Highlights include American pancakes, Pear Caramel, 1000 Baby Greens and a Royal with poached eggs. There’s a Children’s Menu too. From 8pm, you can join in a three-legged pancake race! Pancake Day menu 7.30am-9.30pm. Daily hours: 8am-6pm (Mon-Wed), 8am-9pm (Thu-Fri), 9am-9pm (Sat), 9am-6pm (Sun). (Feb 25/ongoing)
City of London
Enjoy delicious buttermilk pancakes with crispy bacon, creme fraiche and a berry compote at Jackson & Rye. These New York Style brasseries offer a yummy-sounding Kids Menu too. 7am-11pm (Mon-Wed), 7am-12am (Thu-Sun). At 30 Old Jewry, EC2R 8EB (Bank tube) – also at sister branch in Richmond.
You’ll find crepes all day every day at this pancake spot in the heart of London. Creme de La Crepe has been whipping up batter for the hungry masses in Covent Garden since 2008. Tuck into sweet and savoury gourmet crepes this Pancake Day, while you tour this vibrant market. Opening hours 11am-7.30pm (Mon-Fri), 11am-8.30pm (Sat), 11am-8pm (Sun). At Unit 29, The Piazza, Covent Garden WC2E 8RE (Covent Garden tube)
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)
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, ricotta or kimchee pancakes. Find a similar menu at sister branches e.g. No 32 The Old Town (Clapham), No 1 Duke Street (Richmond) and No 197 Chiswick Fire Station (Chiswick). (Feb 25)
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