Pancakes are a Shrove Tuesday standard, but that doesn't mean you can't eat them all year round. In London, there's more to these carb-tastic delights than sugar and lemon. From meaty, cheese-oozing galettes to American-style delights at brunch and decadent crêpes for dessert, these are the best pancakes in London.
The best pancakes in London
The owners of this gorgeous-looking Clerkenwell joint want us all to ‘make friends with food’ – and we’re sold on the place’s low-key backstreet vibe and clever gluten-free cooking. Like everything else here, the American-style breakfast pancakes are nutritionally balanced; they’re also made with organic oat milk and wickedly topped with just about anything you fancy – from vanilla-scented blueberry compote or yoghurt to smoked streaky bacon and free-range sausages for an alternative fry-up.
Local gins and bespoke cocktails keep the drinkers happy, but this super-friendly stripped-back bar/café (named after an obscure Beastie Boys track) near the Barbican is also primed when it comes to dishing up buttermilk pancakes for breakfast. Your only choice is between sweet and savoury: the former might mean a topping of poached caramel apple and stem-ginger biscuit crumble; the latter is all about bacon, maple syrup and pecans. These beauties might even sneak on to the brunch menu.
Rest assured, there’s nothing dodgy about the eggs used for the pancakes at this manically popular all-day American diner set in the brutalist shadow of the Barbican. Made to the US remit and served all day every day, these eggy goodies get slathered with maple syrup, splodged with blueberry jam and vanilla cream or loaded up diner-style with fried chicken and banana. Eat them for Friday ‘Frunch’ or for normal brunch at the weekends.
Breakfast naturally takes centre stage at this cluttered, ersatz homage to John Hughes’s cult ‘youth’ movie, although this Club runs right through from brunch to dinner, with pancakes rolled out and stacked up in mind-boggling quantities. If you’re hooked on Instagrammable novelties, these gimmicky jobs will be right up your street – especially the banana and salted caramel version (hello banoffee) with vanilla cream and chocolate sauce. Branches across the capital.
This one’s for those of you who like your pancakes with some stunning views thrown in. Boasting one of the biggest riverside terraces in London, Coppa Club occupies a prime spot with Tower Bridge in near-sight – although tall windows mean you can soak up the vistas whatever the weather. ‘Short stack’ US-style pancakes make an appearance at breakfast, loaded up with the usual savoury or sweet additions: dry-cured streaky bacon and maple syrup for the carnivores, berries and maple syrup for the veggies.
If the very idea of ‘healthy eating in Notting Hill’ fills you with dread, fear not: this cute café from Aussie-born ‘farm girl’ Rose Mann is a little ripper. Colourful interiors and non-stop sunny service are matched by a menu that includes some fair dinkum ‘cherry ripe’ pancakes. These fluffy buckwheat and buttermilk creations come topped with maple syrup, raw cacao nibs, Greek yoghurt, toasted almonds, coconut and sour cherry jam. You can also get pancakes at Farm Girl in Chelsea.
It’s fun, fun, fun all the way at this riotous Shoreditch spot – a cross between a chintzy curio-filled emporium and your Italian nonna’s parlour. You’re here for the good times, but there’s some very decent food on offer too, including airy ricotta pancakes for breakfast/brunch. These come with caramelised banana as standard, plus your choice of toppings – perhaps maple syrup or homemade chocolate sauce. Oh, and just wait until you see the loos.
Bill Granger’s chain of sunny-side-up all-day restaurants preaches the gospel of bronzed healthy indulgence, with a line-up of goodness-packed dishes including some proper thick Aussie ‘hotcakes’. Find these ricotta-based pancake riffs among the breakfast and lunch ‘classics’, stacked up and served in mouthwatering modern style with banana and honeycomb butter (plus grilled Wiltshire bacon if you need a salty fix). Branches in Chelsea, Clerkenwell and King’s Cross.
Billed as a ‘modern greasy spoon’, this immensely popular all-day breakfast and brunch spot deals out kooky versions of the usual suspects, with plenty of eponymous hash riffs among its ‘pig muffins’ and ’French toastys’. And yes, it does proper pancakes too: classic buttermilk stacks with bacon, maple syrup or blueberry and yoghurt, plus a must-order guilty pleasure involving white chocolate and caramelised bananas.
The Hemsley sisters are spiraliser-wielding rock stars on the ‘clean-eating’ stage, and their first café – a chic, sleek vision in brushed gold, blonde wood and herb-green upholstery – is resolutely on-trend. At breakfast time, their pancakes are the business: thick, fluffy Scotch versions made with coconut flour and served with maple butter, mint and blueberries (add some crispy bacon for an extra two quid).
Founded in 1958 and now a must-visit on London’s tourist trail, this pancake house dresses up its garish offer with ‘butterscotch specials’ and assorted crowd-pulling gimmicks. The sweet side of things is fairly straightforward (fruit salad, Nutella, berry compote etc), but savouries are more outlandish, with Moroccan lamb stew, chicken curry and Hawaiian variations in the mix. Gluten-free and dairy-free versions are available on request and there are some colourful vegan options too. Branches in Chelsea and Kensington.
Pancakes in Peckham means a trip to Pedler – the stylishly shabby-chic pride of the neighbourhood. Its ricotta-based belters are brunch fodder par excellence, loaded with poached strawberries, blueberries, vanilla cream, mint and maple syrup for the ultimate sweet, fruity fix – although you can add smoked streaky bacon if some salty, savoury grace notes are required. Pick a table near the bar for the best vibe.
Pizzas, grills and fast-food classics may be the main events at this cheap but charismatic joint, but Soho Joe’s excellent-value buttermilk pancake stacks are also very decent in a ‘greed is good’ kind of way. Expect lots of whipped cream, fruit and and maple syrup, or go down the savoury route with cumberland sausage, a free-range fried egg and streaky bacon. Sit at one of the dark-wood booths or head downstairs to the cosy basement.
A bit like The Wolseley but more intimate and more neighbourly, this dapper outing from Messrs Corbin & King takes its inspiration from the great boulevard cafés of Paris, with every last belle époque detail perfectly in place. Expect plenty of good stuff on the menu, including a special section devoted to buttermilk pancakes among the breakfast eggs and viennoiserie. Take your pick from three versions, with maple syrup, bacon or blueberry compote, respectively.
Venue says Taking inspiration from the great boulevard cafés of Paris, Soutine is an informal neighbourhood rendezvous in St John’s Wood.
You don’t have to wait till Shrove Tuesday comes around for your pancake fix – thanks to this bright, buzzy venue squeezed into one corner of Flat Iron Square. Sweet and savoury buttermilk varieties abound (anyone for ‘1,000 baby greens’ or a combo of banana, praline and marshmallow?), and the owners also have what they call ‘another batter’ for those who require gluten-free and dairy-free versions.
Venue says A not so traditional pancake house serving good, honest sweet and savoury food and beautiful craft ciders.
Breakfast at The Wolseley is one of London’s prime-time social events – and this mother of all the grand cafés never disappoints. Whether you’re a high flyer or along for the ride, no one feels out of place as the conversation crackles over bowls of muesli, kedgeree and pancakes loaded with berries, bacon and maple syrup. All that’s needed to complete the full Wolseley trip is a large Wolseley Imperial – Mandarin Napoléon and Cognac with a long espresso and hot milk topped with chocolate and whipped cream.
Venue says Our celebrated breakfasts are served every day from 7am during the week and 8am on the weekend.