Top Four ‘Save My Fat Ass’ Pancakes North London
Written by: Sophie Taylor
Pancake day means one thing. Pancake bells.
If you hear a chiming in the distance that speaks to your shrivelled dark soul, it is the PANCAKE BELL calling you to sit next to a man in a box and confess all your sins. Yes, Margaret you have many. Remember? Just last week you fell in love with that 17 year old barista and imagined cheating on Dave. You then coveted next door’s pet alpaca, which is major in the sin book.
#Goodtoknow Shrove Tuesday comes from the word ‘shrive’, meaning absolution for sins by doing penance. That means 40 days (and nights – don’t go thinking your evening cheese binges don’t count) of asexual, porridge eating abstinence.
So on Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day, Mardi Gras (or Fat Tuesday as I prefer), it’s time to use up all the fat ass foods you’ve got kicking about at home and gorge away before you become all virginal and skinny and boring. Back in the day that meant sugar, eggs and flour hence the rise of the pancake batter.
If, however, you don’t believe in God Almighty and eternities of remorse but still want to get in on the Fat Tuesday action, here’s our top four flipping tasty pancake venues in North London. Because cooking is for sin repenting fools and we shouldn’t have to put up with this crepe.
1. The Local One
The Front Room Cafe, 158 Tollington Park, N4
The Front Room Cafe in Stroud Green is a community eatery serving freshly cooked dishes prepared on site. You’ll find exhibits from neighbourhood artists adorning the walls, free Wi-Fi and eclectic playlists to accompany your brunch.
But for a local North London cafe, the pancakes at Front Room are surprisingly American. The New Yorker pancakes are served with bacon and drizzled in maple syrup with a fluffy thick density that will make you feel like a Quentin Tarantino extra. A local favourite is the pile of pancakes with yoghurt fruit and maple syrup, eaten outdoors on the terrace.
Repenting Levels: 35/40 This pile of crepe is filling, bacon-y and American style dense. Extra lashings of maple syrup rendered us a fattened cow fit for forty days of fasting
Novelty Element: Get a taste of Manhattan in Finsbury Park.
Bang for your Buck: £7 for a little stack is pretty reasonable you’ll come to find.
DIY Factor: It is possible for any old fool with a pan, a couple of eggs and some flour to create a pancake or two. It is also entirely possible you will make a fine mess and ruin the ceiling / day for every one.
2. The Posh One
Grainger & Co, 7 Pancras Square N1C 4AG
Australian chef and restaurateur Bill Granger opened his first restaurant, Bills, in Sydney, Australia, at the age of 22, and 20 years later launched his first London restaurant, Granger & Co, in late November 2011 to huge queues. These hot pieces of ass come with their own little pot of maple syrup so you can drizzle or drench to your fatty heart’s content. The (pan)hotcakes stay moist thanks to splashes of ricotta dotted throughout, keeping the recipe filling but light. As well as a helping of ripe banana, you get slatherings of honeycomb butter to wallow in, which is more gooey than normal butter and emits glorious caramel scents as you dip your hotcake. I often emit a heavenly caramel scent as I dip my hotcake on the regs, how bout you? Technically these aren’t exactly pancakes, but I’m not sure I care. They’re tasty and fresh and I’m too busy repenting.
Repenting Levels: 30/40 I no longer need to confess to … that … thing I did once…
Novelty Element: They’re filled with cheese and come with honeycomb butter for goodness sake.
Bang for your Buck: £12.50 might sound a little steep for something you could make at home. Except you probably couldn’t make them like this.
DIY Factor: You can try to recreate the gooey honeycomb butter if you dare. Try this recipe.
3. The Obvious One
The Breakfast Club, Islington
Yeah yeah, we all know The Breakfast Club. I saw one in Brighton and rolled my eyes so hard I’ve had a twitch for three weeks. But that’s just my snowflakey disdain of the bourgeoisie which is on another level of hypocrisy. How dare Starbucks not stock almond milk.
And yes, it may be a chain, but it’s a small one and they’re doing the good thing. AKA hearty fodder. Like any good small food chain they’ve got a topical deal going on for Shrove Tuesday: pop along on the 28th Feb and take on the pancake challenge.
If you can eat a stack of a dozen pancakes in 12 minutes you don’t pay a penny. If you fail you have to pay the full £20, but that all goes to a local charity AND you get a free keyring just for entering.
However, if you just fancy trying the pancakes free from the confines of a twelve minute pressure cooker, do so but go early. The pancakes will be fresher and fluffier. Towards the end of the day you run the risk of dry cakes, however the vanilla cream and maple syrup makes up for this. Don’t scrimp on your toppings, but make room for the portions which nay holdeth back.
The options are rather endless at The Breakfast Club when it comes to pancake day specials available from the 20th to the 28th Feb.
Try the lemon meringue stack, the Bourbon pulled pork, or even the triple chocolate fudge mallow option on for size. Yeah, all at once. Why reign it in when you’ve come this far you know?
P.S. Gluten free options are available upon request.
Repenting Levels: 39/40 I can’t see my toes past my pancake belly. Which means I have no energy left to see my own flaws and sins. I’ll be digesting these pancakes til Easter.
Novelty Element: The pancake challenge for people who don’t like to savour their food and chow down with the underlying risk of giving £20 to charity. Plus pancake day specials which sound insane.
Bang for your Buck: Pancakes and berries with maple syrup and vanilla cream is £9. Not too shabby for the atmosphere that comes with it. Then for a mere £2.40 more you can get the All American, adding eggs, sausage, potatoes and streaky bacon if you’re into that sort of thing.
DIY Factor: Well of course you could attempt to recreate all of the above at home, anything in this world is possible. But where is the 80s nostalgia and whole ‘getting out the house’ vibe?
4. The Guilt Free One
Nojó, Unit 730, Camden Market, NW1 8AH
100% gluten, dairy and guilt free, these fresh, vegan and locally sourced crepes will leave your stomach / moral compass satisfied and on point. “Our vision for Nojó was to create a healthy fast food business that would cater to the London market, people working long hours and living fast paced lives – but with a desire to eat properly nutritious and healthy food.” Which gives you more time to wander off polishing your halo and volunteering for charity.
Good to remember, in case you get carried away with the heavenliness and forget your own name, the pancakes are gluten free but the fillings aren’t necessarily. You can ask for vegan and dairy free recipes too, safe in the knowledge that every choice is made without cane sugar. If you don’t mind a bit of dairy (some of us aren’t watching our waistlines / conscience) the strawberry matcha green tea ice cream crepe looks so good it could be bad for you. Almost. Otherwise, what about the yoghurt mixed berry option with Greek yoghurt, mixed berries, seeds and Nojo’s very own homemade chocolate truffles? It comes with 26 grams of protein and a whole bunch of vitamin C to enjoy. Savoury options include the smoked salmon with cream cheese and tofu sauce. Yum yum yummers as my friend Geraldine says.
Repenting Levels: 02/40 Far too saintly. Could eat these all day and still need to commit some heavy adultery / rob a Nationwide or two on Upper Street before it’s time to lent repent.
Novelty Element: Specialising in crepes and crepes alone. Plus they’re healthy.
Bang for your Buck: Prices range from £6 to £9 for sweet and savoury crepes. Not. Too. Shabby.
DIY Factor: I’d like to see you try. They’re gluten free, dairy free AND tasty.
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