It's all fun and games on Pancake Day — unless you've got a food intolerance which strictly limits your options. These London cafes and restaurants offer vegan pancakes and dairy-free or gluten-free pancakes year-round.
For further Shrove Tuesday or casual pancake inspiration, take a look at our guide to the best pancakes and crepes in London.
1. My Old Dutch: vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free pancakes
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This mini-chain of pancake houses was one of the first places in London to offer gluten-free and vegan pancakes.
Its pancakes use rice, tapioca, buckwheat and potato, and any of the regular pancakes from the menus can be adapted as gluten-free. The vegan option uses the same recipe as the gluten-free one, further swapping out milk for soy milk.
If it's lactose that's holding you back from your pancake dreams, you can order a soy pancake base, which eliminates the milk. All cheese pancakes can be served with a lactose-free cheese instead for a small extra charge.
My Old Dutch, Holborn, Chelsea and Kensington
2. Where The Pancakes Are: vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free pancakes
Any of the pancakes at this eatery are available made with the special '3-in-1 batter'. This is dairy-free, wheat-free and vegan, made from organic rice & buckwheat flour, soy milk and chickpea water.
Obviously, you'll need to pick your toppings carefully, though menu options are helpfully labelled as wf (wheat-free) and ve (vegan) where appropriate. Vegans are catered for on both the savoury and sweet menus, with quinoa, roasted squash, red onion, kale, raw beetroot, pomegranate, cashews & ginger-soy dressing as one vibrant option. Check the menu for details.
Where The Pancakes Are, branches in Southwark, Fitzrovia and Battersea Power Station.
3. Sarava, Brixton: vegan and gluten-free galettes
Previously known as Senzala, this south London café serves French crepes with Brazilian flair. Technically, pancakes aren't on the menu — it's a choice between galettes and crepes (the difference being what they're made of) but we find that they both do the job nicely when a pancake craving strikes.
The galettes contain gluten-free buckwheat flour, making them suitable for both vegan and gluten-free diners, while the crepes are made from plain flour and contain egg and dairy — so if you're vegan or gluten-free, go with galettes.
Thankfully the same toppings are available on both, and the menu clearly marks out which toppings are suitable for which dietary requirements, with a whole page each of savoury and sweet options to choose from, and extra ingredients available to add. Vegan options include the Rosa Squash (tomato chutney, roasted butternut squash, courgette, red pepper confit, rocket and roasted almond) and the Sweetie Vegan (maple syrup, banana, strawberries and mixed nuts).
Sarava, Brixton Village Market, 41-42 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8PS
4. Farmacy, Notting Hill: vegan and gluten-free pancakes
This bougie Notting Hill restaurant offers a plant-based menu, and also focuses on organic and chemical-free food. It's a healthy menu — think cold-pressed juices and superfood smoothies — with the house pancakes featuring on the brunch menu.
The vegan and gluten-free buckwheat flour pancakes are served with berry compote, seasonal fruits, coconut yoghurt and maple syrup. The recipe features in the Farmacy Kitchen Cookbook, if you fancy whipping up your own at home.
Farmacy, 74 Westbourne Grove, W2 5SH.
5. The Gallery Cafe: vegan and gluten-free pancakes
Everything served at The Gallery Cafe is vegan, and that includes the gluten-free pancakes on the breakfast menu, served 9am-12pm Monday-Friday, and 9am-1pm at weekends. The American-style pancakes are topped with coconut yoghurt, toasted almonds and agave syrup, with either berry compote or poached apple.
The cafe is located within St Margaret's House, an organisation which aims to get people playing a more active role in the local community. Many of the ingredients in the cafe are locally sourced, and the profits go back into St Margaret's House — so by tucking into your vegan pancakes, you're helping the local community.
6. WAVE: vegan and gluten-free pancakes
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WAVE — We Are Vegan Everything — is by the duo behind vegan bakery Cupcakes And Shhht. It's both a cafe and a food supplier, with dishes served everyday, including pancakes. The menu changes regularly, but at time of writing, the breakfast menu at the Hackney branch has apple crumble pancakes, topped with caramelised apples, crumble, cinnamon, and (vegan) cream. As an added bonus, they're gluten-free as standard.
WAVE, venues in Hackney and Stoke Newington.
7. The Breakfast Club: vegan pancakes
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Beloved mini-chain The Breakfast Club made it onto our list of top places to get pancakes in London, and two of the four options on the current menu can be made vegan on request. The All-American pancake stack (pancakes, bacon, a sausage, homestyle potatoes, fried eggs and maple syrup) can be made veggie or vegan, while the Pancakes, Cream and Berries (fresh berries, lemon and vanilla cream, maple syrup) offers a vegan option — which naturally has vegetarians covered anyway.
The Breakfast Club has locations all over London.
8. Stack & Still, Leicester Square: vegan and gluten-free pancakes.
Central London newbie Stack & Still has a helpful interactive menu on its website, which allows you to filter by dietary requirements, including vegan as well as gluten and dairy intolerances.
For vegans, several of the savoury signature stacks, including Piri Piri, Doner Kebab and All American, are available, though it's not such good news for sweet toothed vegans when it comes to ready-designed stacks. Nonetheless, plenty of the sweet toppings are vegan, meaning you can design your own meal from a vegan base.
If it's gluten that troubles you, there are plenty of sweet and savoury options, including the salmon & avocado and peanut butter stacks, and again, you can pick individual ingredients to create your own meal if you prefer.
Stack & Still, 17-18 Irving Street, WC2H 7AU.
9. La Petite Bretagne, Hammersmith: gluten-free crepes
Hammersmith creperie La Bretagne is unapologetically French: the recipes, the decor, the music, the staff and the clientele. It's an ideal venue for coeliacs as the savoury galettes are wheat- and gluten-free by default and sweet crepes can be gluten-free if you ask.
La Petite Bretagne, 5-7 Beadon Road, W6 0EA.