When you say pancakes, most people think of Shrove Tuesday. Just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past millennium, Shrove Tuesday is an annual day in which people cause a massive mess in their kitchens while attempting to whip up pancakes for their friends and family. The day originally came about because making pancakes was a good way of using up the last of your fats and eggs before embarking on the Lenten fasting period before Easter where these items were considered unnecessary frivolities. These days though, Pancake Day (as it’s now more popularly known) is mainly an excuse to indulge in as many pancakes as your stomach can take.
While Shrove Tuesday may be the most popular day in the annual calendar to indulge in a stack of pancakes, we are of the school of thought that says pancakes can be enjoyed on any damn day of the year you want them. Pancakes are traditionally a rather humble dish to enjoy, made up of a simple combination of flour, eggs and milk and typically enjoyed with a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkling of sugar. In the last few years though, pancakes have hit the big time and these days, you can find them on restaurant menus crowned with luxury ingredients or smothered in sugary toppings that would give your dentist a heart attack.
Luckily for you, London is full of delicious options for pancakes all year round, ranging from casual spots to luxury takes. To help you determine which of London’s restaurants and cafes serve the best pancakes you can find in the city, we’ve rounded up some of our favourites. So, whether you’re looking for savoury options to enjoy, or you’d rather indulge with sweet toppings such as chocolate sauce and fruit, our list of the best pancakes in London should have something that takes your fancy.
Christopher’s, Covent Garden
What: At Christopher’s, pancakes are serious business. The restaurant’s weekend brunch menu features a tear-off ‘build your own pancake' section which you fill out and hand to your waiter. It’s hard to beat the childlike thrill of ticking off which toppings and sauces you want, with options including maple-cured bacon, salted caramel ice cream and Nutella.
Where: 18 Wellington Street, WC2
Tom’s Kitchen, Chelsea
What: Chef Tom Aikens holds the title of youngest ever British chef to be awarded two Michelin stars (a feat he achieved at the tender age of 26), so it’s no surprise that the pancakes on his Tom’s Kitchen menu impress. Come here at the weekend to try them, when you’ll find fluffy blueberry studded pancakes topped with refreshing blueberry compote.
Where: 27 Cale Street, SW3 3QP
Kalifornia Kitchen, Fitzrovia
What: Millennial pink Kalifornia Kitchen ticks boxes with the Instagram crowd thanks to its cutesy interiors, while the entirely vegan menu appeals to the ever-growing amount of Londoners that are ditching meat. The delicious pancakes here see a gluten-free buckwheat and banana offering topped with coconut yoghurt, caramelised bananas and almond brittle.
Where: 19 Percy Street, W1T 1DY
Avobar, Covent Garden
What: Avobar might seem like a gimmick, but the restaurant’s all-things-avocado menu actually has some substance to it. Tuck into a pile up of two green hued Matcha Pancakes to start your day, which are topped with a choice of house-cured salmon or grilled bacon, as well as a side of turmeric poached egg and a slather of avo-butter for good measure.
Where: 24 Henrietta Street, WC2E 8ND
Smith & Wollensky, Covent Garden
What: Smith & Wollensky is a New York import which is sleek and stylish, featuring smart finishes and staff in waistcoats. The restaurant is known for its sizeable portions, so expect a mountainous stack of pancakes to arrive at your table. Available on the weekend brunch menu, Smith & Wollensky serves up buttermilk pancakes topped with blueberry compote.
Where: 1-11 John Adam Street, WC2N 6HT
Polo Bar, City
What: Open 24/7, Polo Bar is found opposite Liverpool Street station and welcomes everyone from early risers to late-night revellers through its doors. The extensive menu boasts an entire section dedicated to pancakes, with the over-the-top creations available including stacks of red velvet, banoffee and cookies and cream varieties.
Where: 176 Bishopsgate, EC2M 4NQ
The Little Blue Door, Fulham
What: This buzzy venue that’s designed to look like a London house share might be a playground for big kids, but its pancake offering is surprisingly grown up. Forget maple syrup and chocolate shavings, as at The Little Blue Door, brunch pancakes come with slightly more adult toppings – think charred fruit, sour cream, roasted nuts and a drizzle of honey.
Where: 871-873 Fulham Road, SW6 5HP
Where the Pancakes Are, Southwark
What: There are few restaurant names with a more literal meaning than Where The Pancakes Are. The restaurant is home to both sweet and savoury creations, which are served all day long. We’re particularly partial to the savoury likes of the Boulder Breakfast: two vegan pancakes topped with smashed avo, roasted peppers, cherry tomatoes, chickpea salsa and mushrooms.
Where: 85a Southwark Bridge Road, SE1 0NQ
My Old Dutch, Chelsea, Holborn and Kensington
What: Boasting three London locations (Chelsea, Holborn and Kensington), you’ll never be short of choice at My Old Dutch. In fact, this pancake palace offers more than 40 types of sweet and savoury pancakes, with classic options found alongside the likes of chicken curry and asparagus varieties. Torn between two choices? Just combine them and build your own.
Where: 221 Kings Road, SW3 5EJ; 131-132 High Holborn, WC1V 6PS; 16 Kensington Church Street, W8 4EP
The Wolseley, Mayfair
What: The Wolseley boasts a dining room that is so arrestingly gorgeous, we’re half tempted to move in and make it our permanent home. Luckily, the food here is just as pretty as the surroundings that it is served in; when it comes to pancakes, expect a pillowy stack which can be topped with your choice of maple syrup, bacon or berries.
Where: 160 Piccadilly, W1J 9EB
Granger & Co, Chelsea, Clerkenwell, King’s Cross and Notting Hill
What: With four locations across the capital (Chelsea, Clerkenwell, King’s Cross and Notting Hill), Granger & Co is a breakfast favourite. Pancakes here are served under the guise of ricotta hotcakes and boy, are they good. They arrive topped with banana and honeycomb butter, and there’s also the option to add bacon…yes, please.
Where: Pavilion Road, SW1X 0BP; 49 Clerkenwell Green, EC1R 0EP; 7 Pancras Square, N1C 4AG; 175 Westbourne Grove, W11 2SB
Chiltern Firehouse, Marylebone
What: We’ve always felt the genuinely good menu at Chiltern Firehouse was often overshadowed by the restaurant’s reputation as a celeb-magnet. While the likes of crab doughnuts are enough to tempt us at dinner, we’re also fans of Chiltern’s weekend brunch, which includes fluffy pancakes topped with maple syrup, crème fraiche and blueberries.
Where: 1 Chiltern Street, W1U 7PA
Fuwa Fuwa, Bloomsbury
What: An import from Toyko, Fuwa Fuwa serves up super fluffy Japanese soufflé pancakes, and as far as we’re aware, this is the only place in London where you can get your hands on them. The pancakes take 20 minutes each to make, but trust us when we say it’s worth the wait, especially for the drizzle of honeycomb butter that they arrive at the table with.
Where: Unit 8, Brunswick Centre, WC1N 1AE
Gunpowder, Tower Bridge
What: At this sleeker and much larger sibling to Gunpowder’s original shoebox site in Spitalfields, you’ll find plenty of Indian twists on brunch classics. Here, pancakes are studded with cardamom and topped with caramelised banana and a scoop of crème fraiche. If you want to make your brunch boozy, wash it all down with a cocktail from the list of signatures.
Where: 4 Duchess Walk, SE1 2SD
Farm Girl, Chelsea and Notting Hill
What: Popular with the Instagram and #Fitspo crowd, Farm Girl’s duo of London restaurants (Chelsea and Notting Hill) are the place to go for pancakes that won’t have you rolling out of the door afterwards. Order a stack here to enjoy buckwheat and buttermilk pancakes which are finished off with a drizzle of rose maple syrup, as well as berries, coconut shavings and candied pistachios.
Where: 9 Park Walk, SW10 0AJ; 59a Portobello Road, W11 3DB
Riding House Café, Fitzrovia
What: If you’re a freelancer or often find yourself working remotely, Riding House Café is a great spot to nestle in for the day. While you’re there, you might as well treat yourself to a morning pick-me-up of buttermilk pancakes topped with triple-smoked streaky bacon and maple syrup, or a medley of berries and vanilla clotted cream…well, it would be rude not to.
Where: 43-51 Great Titchfield Street, W1W 7PQ
The Breakfast Club, various London locations
What: You’ll often find snaking queues outside of the various Breakfast Clubs dotted around the capital. The pancakes here are among the most popular items on the menu and take their inspiration from the US – think toppings of cherry jam and peanut butter, smoky bacon and maple syrup, or even vegan pancakes topped with caramelised pineapple and coconut cream.
Where: Various locations
What: Popular Peckham restaurant Pedler is a shabby-chic spot which turns out Mediterranean-style sharing plates in the evening. Head here for brunch though, and you can enjoy some truly delightful ricotta pancakes crowned with poached berries, vanilla cream and mint and maple syrup. There’s the option to add smoky bacon too, if you’re feeling indulgent.
Where: 58 Peckham Rye, SE15 4JR
If you prefer pancakes close cousins of crepes instead, check out our pick of the best crepes in London.