Pancakes may be a Shrove Tuesday standard, but that’s not to say you shouldn’t be eating them all year round. You should, because they’re marvellous. There’s more to them than sugar and lemon, too. From meaty, cheese-oozing galettes to creamily decadent crêpes, brace yourself for a battering at these truly tremendous London pancake joints.
The best pancakes in London
This all-day diner has plenty of huge breakfast and brunch offerings, but also serves sweet or savoury pancakes all day. The star of the show? The salted caramel banoffee pancakes with vanilla cream and chocolate sauce. YUH-HUH. There are a total of nine branches in London, including Soho, Islington, Hoxton and Spitalfields. .
If you’re in search of authentic Breton galettes, visit this Richmond bistro. The menu offers a selection of excellent buckwheat pancakes, with fillings ranging from creamy leeks with scallops, to melted cheese and ratatouille (though you can plump for a plain buttery number if you insist). There are also a number of sweet crêpes – it’s Nutella for us, mes amis.
This American institution’s sprawling weekend brunch menu has a smattering of pancake choices, including a buckwheat ‘superfood’ number with camu powder, goji berry compote and maple syrup, plus textbook bacon and maple buttermilk ’cakes. But it also offers a neat, build-your-own option. Fancy a blueberry base topped with bacon, matcha ice cream and chocolate? Here, for better or worse, you can have it.
A good range of sweet and savoury fillings are offered at this fast-food café chain, along with a small selection of pastries, including waffles. The crêpes and galettes – made with wheat flour and gluten-free buckwheat, respectively – are filled then reheated to order, and the service is quick and friendly.
Venue says: “Join us for our new flambée menu that includes a mixed leaf salad, classic tarte flambée, a glass of wine or beer, plus tea or coffee.”
This ‘grand café’ in the Continental mould – opened by the gents behind The Wolseley and Brasserie Zédel – has some of the most sought-after tables in London, and with good reason. The weekend brunch menu includes a pancake section, with fillings such as maple syrup, bacon, blueberries and crème fraîche, and apricot and lingonberry compote.
For those who like to snaffle their pancakes the all-American way, head to Jackson & Rye – a US-style all-day bar/restaurant with branches in central and west London. The Soho outpost has a stack of buttermilk options on the brunch menu. We’d recommend diving head-first into a hefty pile of pancakes topped with bacon, blueberries and maple syrup.
If you’re craving a crêpe (and can’t afford the Eurostar), Le Merlin in Clapton is the place to be. It offers a simple pancake-only menu, divided into savoury and sweet options. Elaborate combos abound, but they’re best on the classics – stick with the ham, gruyère and egg galette, or the lemon cream and grilled almond crêpe. Wizard stuff.
Venue says: “Homemade buckwheat blinis topped with slices of foie gras & served with a fig chutney! Just perfect with one of our Cider-Based Cocktail!”
A French twist on pancake tradition comes to Covent Garden with Mamie’s crêpes, galettes and cider. The buckwheat galettes have the chewiness of a dosa with a buttery crispiness – order them laden with emmental, garlic mushrooms, thin-cut ham and a runny egg. Crêpe-wise, hit up La Gauguin: a wonderfully boozy mess of flambéed banana and chantilly cream.
Pancakes are the focus of this old-hand of a micro chain (after you’ve gobbled a few bitterballen meatballs that is). The sweet side of the menu is fairly straightforward – fluffy little ‘poffertjes’ cakes, strewn with fruit and cream, are about as wacky as it gets – but the savouries are more outlandish, with smoked duck, chicken curry and Hawaiian variations available.
This crêperie in Hammersmith is the real deal, offering made-to-order buckwheat galettes with savoury fillings such as classic ham and cheese, as well as sweet crêpes containing nutella and banana, salted caramel or strawberries, cream and almonds. Stylish surroundings and lashings of Breton cider add to the appeal. There’s a Dalston branch incoming, too.