The London Review of Breakfasts

"Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper." (Francis Bacon)

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Pancake Café, Bloomsbury

The Pancake Café
28 Museum Street
020 7636 2383

by Vita Bicks

Bloomsbury smiled in the balmy September sunshine as we took our seats on the pavement outside the Pancake Café, filled with the benevolent optimism that only a sunny Saturday morning can bring. We settled on spinach and cheese pancakes for me, bacon and apple for Mr Bicks, and scrambled eggs on toast for our charming companion, who knows what she likes and likes what she knows. Our choices made, I went up to order, and that was when the problems began.

“Two coffees, please,” I opened.
“Tea?” asked the man behind the counter.
“Coffee,” I replied.
“Just filter coffee, please.”
“Filter coffee.”

And so we continued, until he threw me off the scent entirely with an offer of beer. At 11am. Beaten, I retreated to my seat and hoped for the best.

The food, when it came, was equally odd. The pancakes, crispy and frangible, resembled nothing so much as poppadoms. Mr Bicks’s apple appeared in the form of uncooked slices, while the top of his pancake was, in a moment of truly cherishable strangeness, buttered. The only problem with our companion’s scrambled eggs was the fact that they were, unequivocally, an omelette. Salt and pepper, delivered to our table on request, turned out to be pepper and pepper. I began to wonder if I was dreaming.

The food at the Pancake Café wasn’t awful, exactly; it was just… peculiar. The celebrated bon vivant Sir Clement Freud once famously remarked that, “breakfast is a notoriously difficult meal to serve with a flourish”. Were it not impossible to imagine him partaking in such unaccredited fare, one would be tempted to assume that here was where his moment of insight had occurred.


Blogger Buffy said...

Peculiar pancakes. Nothing worse.

6:12 PM, September 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do find this obsession some coffee shops have with selling you milk rather peculiar. For some reason my local Costa appear to be the worst:
"Black coffee please."
"No just a black filter coffee please."
"Do you want milk in that?"
"No thank you."
Perhaps the margins are higher on milk.

1:55 PM, October 09, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very poetic review, though a bit harsh, methinks. I eat there regularly and love the fresh, if basic, homemade food. I don't want the rigid formality and over-priced bog-standardness of the branded chains. Pancakes / crepes etc are made to different recipes the world over but the poppadum comparison is just not truthful. You mention being of a sunny disposition that Saturday morning but I suspect you got out of bed on the wrong side that day.

4:12 PM, December 17, 2008  
Anonymous Psyche9 said...

I think you were unlucky with the pancakes that day - i come here a few times a month, when going to the musuem and I adore the slightly scruffy interior, the hassle-free atmosphere, the really friendly staff and the lovely pancakes.

9:23 AM, December 29, 2008  

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