From #NutellaDay to #NationalToastDay which just went by, there’s been no dearth of quirky food-centric bonanzas of late.
The peak of those celebrations of course, is Pancake Day.
Far from a marketing gimmick by food brands, it’s actually steeped in centuries-old traditions, also going by the name Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras (“fat Tuesday” in French) or Fasnacht (“night of the fast” in German).
In Christianity, it signals the commencement of the 40-day fasting period of Lent (starting on the next day). While in ancient Paganism, it heralded the onset of spring (pancakes being considered emblematic of the sun!).
Well whatever the origin, Pancake Day is a celebration religiously observed to date, across cities and cultures. Falling this year on 28 February, it’s the perfect occasion methinks to tuck into #StacksonStacksonStacks of this timeless comfort-food classic. So here’s rounding up some of my top picks for where you can blissfully do so…
Fortnum & Mason
Blink and you might miss the Pancake Café pop up at the iconic landmark in Piccadilly.
Choose between sweet pancakes topped with lemon curd, mango and pomegranate or crêpes Suzette flambéed with flair by Fortnum’s head chef Sydney Aldridge. There are savoury options to be found too, at the deli and fine food counters (toppings range from smoked salmon and crème cheese, to Beluga caviar by the gram). Of course if you’re feeling particular indulgent, you could always pair it with their champagne of the month, Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve!
Christopher’s, Covent Garden
The make-your-own pancake menu at Christopher’s has *always* been a good idea for weekend brunch, but the handsome American restaurant is really upping the ante on Pancake Day with a Nutella-based stack that looks a whole lot of fun to boot. It feeds up to four, but somehow I don’t doubt that forks will be clanging over the last bite…
Psst. If for any good reason you can’t make your way to Christopher’s, you’ll be pleased to know that you can whip up their signature buttermilk pancakes at home. Find their recipe, here!
Other hefty stacks can be found at Sunday, a quirky neighbourhood cafe in Islington where every day feels like… well, a Sunday! The pancakes here a dense yet lush affair, doused in maple syrup and oodles of honeycomb butter…
Chiltern Firehouse, Marylebone
… But if it’s fabulously fluffy buttermilk pancakes you’re after, the cosy cobbled courtyard of Chiltern Firehouse holds much appeal, particularly if you have the luxury of a lazy start to your day!
For something a touch more offbeat, how about a mille crêpe cake at this Japanese patisserie in Soho? It involves layers and layers of delicate French crêpes, each sandwiching an impossibly-light custard cream filling. Flavours include the classics (chocolate, vanilla), fresh fruits and of course – matcha!
And finally. For those more virtuously inclined, I’d recommend the vegan buckwheat stack at Grace Belgravia – perhaps one of the most closely guarded secrets among well-trimmed Londoners. Anything but pallid, these deliciously healthy pancakes are topped off with grilled bananas, coconut yogurt, maple syrup, blue berries and edible flowers… a kick of protein-powder making it the perfect post workout fuel! Full lowdown, here.
Continuing on the health-track, these matcha-marvellous egg-white protein pancakes might also hit the spot on the day. Find the recipe from Chucs, here.
As might these carrot pancakes, washed down with a zingingly fresh Carrot Mary. Breakfast for dinner anyone?
Recipes from Ketel One, here.
Have any other recommendations for this foodie? Drop me a comment below!