Pancakes are for life, not just for Pancake Day. If you can't be bothered to make your own, here are some places that will do it for you any day of the year. If you've got special dietary requirements, check out our guide to vegan and gluten-free pancakes in London.
Pancakes at My Old Dutch, various locations
It could be easy to sniff at My Old Dutch, with its bright orange frontage, tiny yet strangely comfortable wooden chairs and mock-Delftware plates. It is defiantly, sweetly, uncool. But the pancakes work. They are the sort you make at home — thicker than crepes, eggy and no buttermilk. You get just the one, but it is enormous enough to be satisfying without a distended stomach. We went for a sweet pancake and chose our own topping: banana, maple syrup and cinnamon. The smell is divine. We also like the way the bananas clearly went in the pan first, batter filling around them, so the undersides are slightly charred and caramelised. Vegan and gluten-free options too.
My Old Dutch has branches in Holborn, Chelsea and Kensington. See website for details.
Pancakes at Drunch, Mayfair
If you want your pancakes with a side of Instagram likes, Drunch is the place for you. Situated just a 30-second walk from the madness of Oxford Street (with a second branch near Regent's Park), the pretty, upmarket cafe specialises in brunch, and serves up some of the best pancakes we've had in London.
Thick, Scotch-style pancakes of impressive circumference are stacked up on your plate. You could opt for the banana and dulce de leche topping, but for our money, it's ricotta and berries every time. Very generous quantities of seasonal berries are beautifully presented, and perfectly complemented by the ricotta, topped off with icing sugar and just the right amount of syrup to keep sweet-toothed brunchers happy.
Don't forget to get a photo of the floral exterior on your way out:
Drunch, 1 Woodstock Street, Mayfair, and 38 St John's Wood Terrace.
Pancakes at The Breakfast Club, various locations
We first tried to visit The Breakfast Club's Soho joint on a Sunday morning. That was a stupid idea (the queue snaking down the street). So instead we headed to a branch down a tiny side street opposite Liverpool Street station (also the location of the secret Smeg fridge that gets you into a cocktail bar) on a Tuesday afternoon. Much quieter.
They serve white flour buttermilk pancakes with bacon so crisp you could snap it in half, and on our visit they left us with the maple syrup bottle. (We can't guarantee that would happen at busier times.) For the ultimate comfort food combo, get a hot chocolate with mini marshmallows. Healthy types (we use the term 'healthy' very loosely here) can opt for berry pancakes instead, or you can combine the two — blueberry and bacon pancakes, anyone?
The Breakfast Club has locations all over London. See website for details.
Pancakes at Granger & Co, various locations
We went for brunch at Bill Granger's Notting Hill outlet back in 2013, and still salivate at memories of the honeycomb butter that accompanies its ricotta hotcakes. You get three hotcakes, with maple syrup and a slab of banana. They are gorgeously fluffy and the ricotta gives a deliciously sour note to take the edge off the sweet, making them unlike any other pancakes we've found. The place gets very busy so don't be surprised if you have to wait.
Pancakes at Where The Pancakes Are, Southwark
Cutting swiftly to the chase, Where The Pancakes Are sells pancakes. No surprises there. But the variety, size and quality on offer may be a little more unexpected. Breakfast pancakes, all day pancakes and evening pancakes. Buttermilk pancakes, vegan pancakes and Dutch baby pancakes (which sort of look like giant Yorkshire puddings).
There's sweet, savoury and more added toppings than you can shake a whisk at (banana marshmallow, pulled beef pastrami, and pear caramel are some of the options currently on the menu). If you want to see the word 'pancake' so often that it completely loses all meaning, this is your best bet.
Crepes and galettes at Senzala Creperie, Brixton
Hipster gastronomy centre Brixton Village is where you'll find Senzala, and it's where you should head if you're vegan but still like the taste of pancake. Many of Senzala's galettes (crepes, but made with buckwheat flour, which is also gluten-free) are vegan and there are vegetarian and vegan savoury toppings available. If you're in the mood for something sweet, they've got you covered too — fruit, chocolate and caramel flow freely through the menu. Being a tad hungover on our visit, we opted for a white crepe with caramelised apple, cinnamon, maple syrup and creme fraiche, the latter being a stroke of genius; a cool, slightly sharp zest to offset the lake of syrup the crepe swims in. And definitely recommended as a day-after restorative.
Senzala Creperie, Brixton Village Market, 41-42 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8PS.
Pancakes at Christopher's, Covent Garden
If you're the sort of person for whom brunch = pancakes, get yourself down to American grill, Christopher's in Covent Garden. Of a weekend, their pancake and French toast menu keeps pancake lovers happy. Buttermilk with bacon and maple syrup, blueberry buttermilk or buckwheat with berries, maple syrup and coconut yoghurt are your options — slightly at odds with the upmarket surrounds, but any qualms about responsible food intake soon disappear when you order an additional brownie and bourbon milkshake.
Christopher's, 18 Wellington Street, WC2E 7DD
Pancakes at La Petite Bretagne, Dalston and Hammersmith
Everything about this Hammersmith creperie is French: the recipes, the decor, the music, the staff and the clientele. It's also another ideal venue for coeliacs as the galettes are wheat- and gluten-free, and sweet crepes can be gluten-free if you ask. We opted for the most expensive thing on the menu: we cannot resist tartiflette, particularly not in such francophile surroundings.
La Petite Bretagne, 12 Kingsland High Street, E8 2JP and 5-7 Beadon Road, W6 0EA.
Article originally written by Rachel Holdsworth, and updated since.