Chief Sub-Editor Rosie Morton heads to Edinburgh’s latest brunch eatery and finds a pancake paradise…
Matilda was my favourite film as a child.
I was word-perfect, wore silk ribbons in my hair, and was convinced of the power of magic eyes and a perfect stack of pancakes.
Even now, Rusted Root’s Send Me On My Way (A.K.A. Matilda’s pancake song) sparks an immediate urge to unearth my Grandpa Valentine’s old pancake griddle from the cupboard. Pancakes are familiar. They’re nostalgic. They’re the true essence of home.
Sometimes, though, they taste all the sweeter when someone does the hard work for you. Filling the pancake-shaped void in Edinburgh’s brunch scene, Stack & Still – which is the UK’s largest urban pancake business – has opened its doors on the capital’s George Street. Located in The Assembly Rooms, the former Jamie’s Italian site, the chain can seat up to 140 pancake enthusiasts and offers them over 12 million (yes, million) sweet and/or savoury combinations.
These are no ordinary pancakes though – this much we realised when presented with an encyclopedia of topping choices and five different types of pancake base including classic buttermilk, buckwheat, protein, gluten-free and low fat.
Threatening to select all my favourite ingredients and tower them high on one plate, I decided that the bacon-Crunchie-banana-pecan-maple-yoghurt-combo I was envisaging was likely to end in tears, so instead went for the easy option by selecting from Stack & Still’s Sweet & Savoury Signatures menu which consists of tried and tested combinations that we all know and love… Big Breakfast Stack? Toffee Apple combo? Strawberry Cheesecake? Quite delicious I’m sure, but it’s an unspoken rule that I order peaches whenever they appear on a menu, so I chose the Peaches & Cream Stack with buttermilk pancakes, grilled peaches, cinnamon syrup, raspberries, blueberries, crème fraîche, mint and flaked almonds.
Hand on heart, these were the closest thing I have had to an all-time favourite eatery in Quebec called Cora’s. Canada knows how to do decadence, and certainly operates on the ‘more is more’ basis (as do I), and Stack & Still’s show-stopping pancakes were reminiscent of those I enjoyed on wintery Montreal mornings. They were as sweet and delicious as they sound, and having chosen an almighty stack of three pancakes I was delighted that manager Vicky Briody offered me a takeaway box to enjoy the rest at home.
My fellow brunch-goer, however, was not so cowardly, instead opting to tackle the toppings list head on. Our very patient waiter politely took note of the order, eyebrows slightly raised at her choice of gluten-free pancakes with bacon, apple and cinnamon, pecans, a fried egg and maple syrup. The chefs kindly put the maple syrup in a jug on the side, in case she decided that the egg yolk x syrup combo was one step too far. Recoil in horror if you will, but she was truly delighted with her selection and assured me she had created a new kind of food heaven.
One thing is certain, the rule books are thrown out of the window at Stack & Still and there really is something for everyone. The staff were all incredibly attentive, eyes smiling from behind their masks, and there was a real buzz of activity about the place. We sat in their outdoor seating area for a couple of hours, watching the world go by on Edinburgh’s Rose Street. Good food, good company and wonderful hospitality. It was undoubtedly worth navigating the calorie overload.
I’m certain that Matilda and Miss Honey would approve.
To find out more about the new Stack & Still venue, or to read their full menu, visit their website by clicking HERE.