The problem with going out for breakfast or brunch is – quite literally, that it’s breakfast or brunch. After 7-8 hours of compulsory starvation – (my personal definition of “sleep”), the last thing any of us want to do is spend another hour travelling for our very first meal. And yet, many of us still do, simply because it’s a far better option than the prospect of cooking brunch at home, and – (if you’re as “creative” as I am), having to call the bomb squad in to clean up the mess.
Despite the kitchen carnage, I still think that brunch is always more satisfying when you’ve made it with your own blood, sweat and maple syrup, but for those sudden moments of laziness, London is more than well-equipped. In every corner of the map, there is a suitably enticing brunch destination, and down by the southern banks, “Where The Pancakes Are” takes up the mantle. Eager to see the substance behind their aesthetics, Steak and I headed over to pilfer their precious pancakes.
Halal status: None of the meat here is halal, but non-meat / vegetarian / vegan options are available.
As you can imagine, the menu is simple, but broad, with a variety of sweet and savoury pancakes to suit every conceivable palate. Being the sugar-fiends that we were, we ordered a plate of “Forest Berries” – composed of two buttermilk pancakes, berry compote, greek cream, crushed meringue and toasted almond flakes. Though the pancakes were wonderfully soft, they were somewhat stodgy within, and lacked the fluffy, buttery texture that to me, is the defining characteristic of a seriously good pancake. The accompanying components however, intermingled seamlessly, with a mixture of fruity sweetness and tartness, and a pleasant, aromatic nuttiness. As far as pancake formulations go, this was a pretty safe and classical combination.
“Forest Berries” (£8.50)
The same could not be said however, of the “Hummingbird”. As well as suffering from the same dense stodginess, the pancakes were accompanied by an assortment of cinnamon-poached pineapple, greek cream , lime syrup, pomegranate seeds, and toasted coconut – (or at least, a rather small pinch of it). For us, the combination of sharp pineapple, sharp lime syrup, and fairly sharp pomegranate seeds was fairly repetitive on the palate, and the lack of a sufficient amount of toasted coconut – (or some other contrasting ingredient), meant that there was no opportunity for our tastebuds to have a break. As a result, we did not think that this particular pancake formulation worked particularly well.
The Hummingbird (£9)
Value For Money: 3/5
Across the menu, pancakes range between £9 to £12, drinks cost between £2 to £5, and extra items come in at £1.50 to £3 – (including maple syrup, which is not included with any of the pancakes). Whilst these prices are in line with expectations, we do feel that both the volume and calibre of the breakfast dishes fall short of satisfaction. Indeed, by the time I scoffed up my pancakes, I began to wonder whether “Where The Pancakes Are” was in fact, supposed to be written as “Where Are The Pancakes?”. As such, if you’re not already from the southern banks of London, it may not be worth making the trip – particularly in a city that has no end to its variety of breakfast destinations.
Service on the other hand is warm and attentive, and whether you’re waiting in the queue outside or dining comfortably inside, staff members will ensure that you are not forgotten about.
Credit must also be given to the styling within, which is comprised of an airy combination of pinewood, greenery, and tall, elegant light fixtures. If, like many young individuals, you thrive and feed on aesthetics more than you do on pancakes, the attractive decor you’ll find here may just be all you need. Where The Pancakes Are can be found a five to ten minute walk away from Borough or London Bridge stations, and limited parking options are available nearby.
In the era of Instagram, it can often be difficult to separate aesthetics from substance, and in the case of Where The Pancakes Are, we’d say that the balance lies heavily towards the former. Perhaps, as a result of being big brunch buffs at home, Steak and I are simply a lot more critical, but by the end of our rather small brunch, our overwhelming feeling was one of disappointment. From our perspective, Where The Pancakes Are isn’t the only place where the pancakes are, and – truth be told, you can certainly find far better places elsewhere.
Where The Pancakes Are
Address: 85a Southwark Bridge Road, London SE1 0NQ
Telephone: 020 7407 8408