Why is a Malaysian-franchaised restaurant named after a famous district in London? The founders went around the globe to search for pancake recipes and found the best one in Paddington. Today, Paddington House of Pancakes (PHOP) presents 101 pancakes in their restaurant, all of which do not have pork or lard. Sauces are made in-house by themselves.
To be honest, the extensive menu is like a novella and can be daunting. The dishes are first separated into starters, savory pancakes and desserts (sweet pancakes). The savory pancakes are then sub-divided into their places of origin: American pancakes called flapjacks and burgers with the buns made from pancakes; pannekoek from Holland; French crepes and galettes; and Russian blintzes and blini. For those who don’t want pancakes, there are pastas. The desserts are also variations of sweet pancakes from these four countries.
Be forewarned that the serving is humongous. Definitely value-for-money.
The PHOP Nachos ($11) boasts to be PHOP’s own creation and others are mere copycats. It’s a piece of pannekoek (Dutch pancake which tasted like wan-ton skin) deep-fried into the shape of a bowl, which is filled with mozzarella, salsa, onions, bacon bits, and salad greens. It was healthy and light and could be served as a main on its own. This was one of our favorite dishes for the day.
The Monaco flapjack ($19) comes with grilled herbed lamb shoulders (250gm) and American pancakes, flapjack, about 5cm tall! The pancake consists zucchini, onion, spring onion and has a mashy texture quite similar to the Korean pancakes, quite yummy and healthy. We ordered a medium-cooked lamb but it turned out well-done, was shaped strangely and had a lamb stench. Luckily, the yogurt mint sauce, sourish, tangy and, well, minty, came to the rescue and livened up the meat.
We saw a table of French boys ordering galettes and so we ordered Lucerne ($18), which is more like a French version of pizza than pancake. The organic buckwheat batter–tasting a bit like an ice-cream cone–is first made on a crepe machine. Then it is topped with a mixture of seafood (prawns, squid, dory fish, a mussel), tomato sauce and mozzarella before putting it in a toaster oven for the cheese to melt. As a result, the edges were crispy. This was not bad but the mussel had sand.
From the Russian menu, the Blini platter ($13) has 8 mini organic buckwheat pancakes with toppings, similar to a canape. The pancake was mildly sweet and would pad the taste of the toppings so toppings with strong flavors, such as bacon and cheese, worked but milder toppings (grilled eggplant) didn’t. This, we thought, would be more suitable as a starter than a main.
The Dutch sweet pannekoek ($13) with banana fritters, peaches, pineapple, nuts, raise, toffee, cinnamon sugar, double ice cream and whipped cream was visually stunning. The French boys next table oohed and wowed and asked the server what it was. The Philippine bananas were thick and fat and still firm after frying. The pannekoek had a texture and taste similar to crepe. This dessert can be shared among 3-4 people.
After avoiding the usual and familiar dishes such as sundaes, French crepes, etc, we thought we should finally sample the classics of the shop, pancakes. They come in stacks of 3 ($8-$20) or 6 ($13-23) depending on the type. We didn’t try the blueberry pancake, their specialty, but we had the original, chocolate chip and peaches-and-coconut pancakes. They were the best dish we had in the restaurant, fluffy yet substantial, and subtly sweet but you can still taste two types of sweetness if you add maple syrup.
Overall, the pancakes (from the last dish) were still the star of the restaurant. The rest of the dishes were ok but their winning formula comes from their good value.
Paddington House of Pancake
Rating: 2.908/5 stars
PS: Thanks Rohit and Sachin for the invited tasting.