Calling all breakfast enthusiasts around the world: who has the fairest pancakes of them all?
Written by Sana
Flour. Milk. Butter. Eggs. The essential ingredients needed to create a pancake. Easy right? But what happens when you throw cinnamon, fruit, or even chocolate into the mix – literally?
Several different restaurants around the world have tried to put their own spin on the classic pancake – but which one wins the throne? Join me on my blogging escapade to explore which pancake makes the flip…
Dining out for breakfast is becoming more popular than ever before. People are willing to compromise on a few hours of sleep in the morning, in order to experience a perfect meal to start the day. And pancakes are fast becoming an essential on the menu.
One of the first pancake-specialising restaurants that captured my heart was My Old Dutch, in Holborn, London (branches in two other locations in London too). The restaurant does not serve any Halal meat, but the dessert choice was more than enough to have me flipping! Although we didn’t go for breakfast, we arrived inside the restaurant after a forty minute wait (Mondays has half price on all pancakes, hence the rush). As we ogled at the delicacies arriving for people around us, we were quick to come to a decision of what to order. Our order of savoury pancakes – Mediterranean and Italian – resembled a fine-dining pizza. The mix of several cheeses alongside succulently grilled vegetables made for an interesting combination atop a light pancake base. To balance out our taste buds, we ordered two sweet pancakes – mixed berry and chocolate banana – to share. Both desserts came with scoops of fresh vanilla ice-cream and topped our meals perfectly. The magical lure of My Old Dutch is the thin crepe-like pancakes served on huge, antique china plates. It definitely feels like you are Alice feasting in Wonderland.
The second pancake specialising restaurant I had the pleasure of trying was IHOP Kuwait. Having a reputation as a cheap American diner, I was at first sceptical about what IHOP would offer. However, the fondness with which it seemed to be received in Kuwait warmed me like butter melting. This time, I actually went in the morning and opted for elements of a full English breakfast – Halal sausages and crispy hash-browns included. As part of the meal, I was granted by the IHOP fairy queen a choice of a stack of pancakes. My decision to try classic-but-with-a-twist Cinnamon Pancakes was one I did not regret; they were the softest and fluffiest pancakes I had eaten in my life. I was battered.
Another fast favourite of mine (just when I thought it couldn’t get any better) were those served by The Breakfast Club, Kuwait, a quaint restaurant in the heart of the city. Based on a recommendation, my salivating mouth eagerly awaited the dishes we were to order. And boys and girls, the menu alone impressed us with its originality and variety. With a range of world breakfasts on the menu we were spoilt for choice but opted for the traditional Halwa Poori of the Asian sub-continent and a fresh but classic Lebanese breakfast salad boasting juicy, grilled halloumi cheese. My lotus milkshake drink, though a risk with the impending sweet pancakes, was a quirky remake of a classic. But the showstopper of the day was the moist, crowned with melted chocolate, perfectly presented Kinder Bueno Pancakes framed with halved strawberries and fairy dust (or icing sugar as it is more commonly known). Sounds like a picnic for the creatures of The Enchanted Forest right?
However, having discussed my top three pancake revelling experiences, I still believe that unequal to all, and made with utter love and pride, is the Thai Pancake I ate off of the streets in Phuket. Once upon a time and continuing today this extra-ordinary pancake-come paratha-come crepe is fried on a cart until crisp, and filled with generous amounts of warm Nutella and sliced banana. It is then lovingly drizzled with more Nutella and sweetened condensed milk, as it is sculpted into squares.
Hiding under the shelters of shops as a burst of monsoon rain catches you unguarded, you are thankful that these squares of magic will protect you against all evil as the goodness wanders through your body and settles in your stomach. This street pancake should not only be crowned the fairest of them all, but given its own pancake-glorified kingdom. The End.
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Born and brought up in London, but currently residing in Kuwait, Sana has always had a fondness for exploring different cuisines. Food, in its many arrays, helps fuel her passion for writing. The ability of food, much like language, to transcend cultures and generations is something that she finds inspiring – and definitely worth sharing.