Saturday, February 28, 2009

Crumpets and...Pancakes (again)!

Nothing like Ancient Greek pancakes to liven up Shrove Tuesday...

It's always so nice to discover a new eating establishment that rocks in your area, especially when you think the proverbial well-of-local-surprises is starting to run dry, and (bonus!) when that new establishment happens to serve delicious baked goods and tea. :)

I've been a big fan of Northcote Rd. in Clapham Junction for quite a while because they seem to have every conceivable specialty food store / food stall (I have a serious weakness for good butchers, fish and cheese mongers) that Putney and Wandsworth lack, but my love of the area was fully cemented when I took a little girly-time-jaunt down to a small establishment called Crumpet with a couple of fellow-pregnant women from my NCT class.

Why I Love Crumpet
& fully plan to lounge like a lizard there as much as possible

5. It was created especially for Moms, Moms-to-be, and kids of all (young) ages!
Crumpet is owned by a husband/wife team who are both local residents and local parents. They created Crumpet to fill a need they themselves had: a nice cafe with good food where parents can take their children without feeling awkward about bothering other people.

The ostensibly small shop is deceptively roomy and even includes an entire area devoted to stroller-pram-buggy-parking. They also have a play area at the back for toddlers, a changing table (a real one!) in the bathroom, and yet manage to maintain a few tables which hold their own in the "still a dignified adult category," where those of us still with child can escape the sometimes noisy world of real parenthood.

This is not, however, a place to come to quietly work on your laptop or listen to jazz while reading a book. The pitter-patter of little feet is pleasantly ubiquitous, and the staff are helpful and chatty.

4. They have a separate menu for BABY FOOD!
After reading my post on my Forecasted Adventures with baby food, you may have guessed "little he's" eating habits are high on the priority list as far as parenting goes. This explains why I was really delighted to notice that at Crumpet they have an entire menu devoted to baby and toddler food.

With things like"Max's Wicked Chicken," "Holly Bolly's Cheesy Cauli" (Cauliflower and Cheese puree) or "Cheeky Tally's Pretty Pink Fish Pie," I think I'll definitely be willing to make this a lunch outing once Ludovictus is eating solids. And if you're into the whole super-healthy-super-conscientous thing, you can sigh a sigh of rellief because everything on their menu is both home-cooked and organic.

3. They have their own teas!
I have loved tea all my life, but moving to the UK has required I have a newfound respect for the drinking and blending of it as an art. In the somewhat overcrowded tea market of the UK, there are too many choices: really cheap teas that are really good and really crappy as well as really expensive teas that are really good and really crappy. Sometimes, for the average person, it is difficult to decipher between any of them and I often feel that perhaps I am being conned into paying more just because it would seem that more expensive = better quality.

Well at Crumpet, all their tea is blended uniquely for them. They have a wide variety of teas which you can order in house or buy to take home and brew. And they are pretty reasonably priced and, after this week I can confidently say, yummy. It's somewhat relieving when life is simplified for you.

2. They serve clotted cream with their (very good) scones!
I hadn't intended to have scones when I arrived at Crumpet, but as soon as I saw their "Tea and Cake or Tea and Crumpets for a fiver" special, I was sold. You get a nice pot of tea and a slice of one of their homebaked cakes (which looked decent enough) or two of their really delicious, warm scones with a HEARTY helping of strawberry jam and my poison of choice - Cornish clotted cream.

Clotted cream deserves a post unto itself, so I'll keep this brief, but suffice it to say, it was the REAL stuff. I would make the trip back to this place for that alone.

1. The service was, unbelievably enough, really good.
Maybe I was just in a good mood. Maybe it was the jolly Italian guy behind the counter. Does it really matter? My only point here is that the service me and my two friends received was cordial, prompt and efficient. I was able to pay with my Amex (cha-ching!) and they even brought the food over to our table - and SMILED!

Fine, they accidentally brought a an extra pot of tea to the table. The scones came two minutes after the tea rather than with it. And they didn't offer me milk with my tea, which technically I guess is right since I ordered Earl Grey and you only take that with lemon, but I'm a blasphemous foreigner and like Earl Grey with milk so I was a little disappointed they were so by-the-book in that aspect.

But the fact that the cashier asked our due dates, joked self-deprecatingly about being a rambunctious child, and seemed jokingly offended when we asked if we had to bus our own tables was like, well, a shining beacon of light in an otherwise rather dim world of mediocre customer service.

* * *

Ancient Greek Pancake Update!

As promised, Matt and I celebrated Shrove Tuesday / Mardi Gras with pancakes. I was so ashamed about posting a recipe I hadn't myself tried that even after I whipped up a random but nevertheless delicious faux German supper of Wiener Schnitzel, pickled beets, and a very-quasi-sauerkraut (read: roast brussel sprouts in a vinegar-white wine sauce), I whipped up some of the really yummy and cool sounding Ancient Greek Pancakes from The Classical Cookbook.

Overall, Matt and I were both big fans. I added some sesame seeds into the batter on accident, but it actually turned out yummy that way. We were both really impressed with how much like fry-bread the "pancakes" were, and felt that the sesame seed - honey topping idea was really delicious. We made the full 4-pancake batter, and felt it was too much for two people because the cakes are so much heavier than crepes or American pancakes.

the thicker batter; an ancient pancake frying and a golden beauty

toastage of the sesame seeds - before and after

I personally think they would make for a delicious dessert if made into mini-pancakes (like a stack of 3-4 Silver Dollar sized ones) with some ice cream on the side. Might have to give that a try next time we have some people over for Greek food!

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1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    Loved the post, and loved the name of your blog - Aesthetic Dalliance - very nice. My nephew was almost named Ludovictus, which I think is a great name, but my brother and his wife changed their minds.

    I'll enjoy checking in. Thanks for the post.

    Kind Regards,