Lucky 7, Westbourne Green
0207 727 6771
by Bee Loobury
After ranting to anyone in earshot on the subject of blueberry pancakes, in particular the lack of authentic blueberry pancakes (by that I mean what I know from my childhood in the Pacific northwest of America) in London, I have happily been appeased. All can rest easy now, or at least in peace and quiet.
Growing up in Seattle, the best part of the weekend was the Saturday breakfast outing to the Pancake Corral. Here I will fess up that in part my adoration of the blueberry pancake might stem from the co-mingling of delicious food with AN ENTIRE ROOM DEVOTED SOLELY TO AN INDOOR CAROUSEL, the magic of which never failed to astonish and delight my 3, 4 and 5 year old selves. Nonetheless, the pancakes held their own.
As way of a brief bit of background, that part of the United States is blueberry country. Blueberries are, or at least were, an important cash crop and culturally significant. There were blueberry fairs and in the late summer/early fall we would go blueberry picking: pail in hand. I remember the excitement at being told it would soon be blueberry season.
Granted, the patina of time may have rosied (or rather blued) up my relationship to the berry but that doesn’t detract from the fact of what comprises a proper blueberry pancake. Well a proper, and delectable, blueberry pancake is on offer at Lucky 7. Unlike at other Diner(s) that shall here remain nameless, a blueberry pancake is not a pancake topped with blueberry compote my friends.
As it should be, at Lucky 7 the whole blueberries are mixed into the pancake batter so that when they hit the griddle those nearest to the heat explode in gorgeous hot blueberry juice. These cakes are packed to the rafters with luscious little berries in various states of exploded succulence. My mouth literally watered as the cheeky (very American-like) waitress settled the white oval plate before me. Nestled in a splayed stack were 4 hot roundels of loveliness; perfectly sized - just smaller than a CD, and dusted with a light sprinkle of powdered sugar. Needless to say the syrup on offer is at its mapely best and the strips of bacon crispy (also something I’ve found to be more American than British).
On this note there is the issue of size, or actually thickness, that I can’t fail to mention. Here I must set the record straight. What most Brits have come to regard as a pancake, in reality is a crepe. I’m sorry to be the one to have to write this, especially seeing as the crepe is, well, yes, it’s French, and I know how you all feel about the French. But a pancake has depth, look at the word: pan-cake. It is a cake made in a pan. It should not be comparable to a thin sheet of paper; it should not be practically see through – that is a crepe.
My Lucky 7 pancakes were a bit on the thin side in relation to American standards, but in all truth I think this enhanced and showcased the blueberries to their advantage. They were still pudgy little cakes, thick enough to resist a fork but light as air in the eating.
The place is a stunning homage to the American diner in its many incarnations, from ‘40’s burger joint all the way to retro-hipster irony. The extensive menu is basically a treatise in temptation, including cocktails - a very inauthentic yet welcome addition to the diner repertoire. My feeling is as long as Lucky 7 continues to serve up the most delectable blueberry pancakes this side of the Atlantic, whatever else they do is alright by me. Thank you berry, berry much Lucky 7.