Is it okay to have pancakes on any other day than Shrove Tuesday? This was the question that had to be addressed when I and four other lovely ladies met for lunch on a Friday. On my suggestion we went to My Old Dutch in High Holborn, which elicited cries of “Pancakes!” from some and “Pancakes? But it’s the wrong day!” from others.
It’s to the staffs’ credit that they remained remarkably unfazed by the appearance of five excited (and ever so pretty) young ladies on a Friday lunch time with no reservation. We were shown to a table immediately – one right next to the bar; I’m sure that had nothing to do with it not being my first visit. The table was fine, but we could have done without the manager whittering on about ghosts. I’m still not sure what he meant. Don’t worry though, the restaurant isn’t actually haunted.
With 15 savoury pancakes (including five veggie ones) and 10 sweet, plus make-your-own options, there’s enough battery goodness to keep even the most pancake-obsessed diner happy. Although as one of my dining companions pointed out, it is somewhat difficult to believe the toppings are the remnants of what the chef found in his cupboard.
Here’s the thing – the pancakes are huge. I wouldn’t bother with starters or salads. None of the starters particularly grab me anyway; they read much like an afterthought to the main event. But really it’s all about the pancakes. I went for my favourite creamed spinach with ratatouille. SM had the same, S la M had another veggie option, the Greek (feta, halloumi, olives etc), while NM went for smoked duck and DB chose smoked salmon.
The Greek was described as “too cheesy” so maybe one to avoid unless you’re a cheese fiend. The duck prompted NM to declare that she had been converted to the idea of pancakes on a Friday but DB wasn't feeling the salmon. And the spinach went down a treat. We all, literally, bit off more than we could chew though. Despite tactically not eating all our first course (except for NM who proved a real trouper), not one of us attempted a sweet pancake. But the waffles and apple pie are highly recommended. We were all given loyalty cards - get nine stamps and have your 10th pancake free.
I went with a friend to the Chelsea restaurant (there's also one in Ealing) only a week later and did even worse - I couldn't even manage a waffle! My plan for next time is to take someone who'll share a savoury pancake so I can did into a sweet one for afters! I also forgot my loyalty card. But I think the original question was most definitely answered in the affirmative: it really is okay to have pancakes any day of the year; and my American friends all agree.
My Old Dutch