Ideas for flippin' good pancakes
AS Carolynn Ryan waited for her order at Aubrey's Traditional Creperie, she said she had plans to return.
"I'm coming here for Pancake Day," she said. "I'll get a midday savoury, then come back about 3pm for a sweet."
If you're a cafe specialising in crepes or their savoury cousin, the galette, Pancake Day can be the equivalent of Christmas for a department store.
"We generally do pretty well in February with Light Night and then Shrove Tuesday usually a week later," said Aubrey's owner, Meg Hale.
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A visit to such an establishment can also be a way to get some ideas for a Pancake Day feast that features more than simply the humble pancake.
Across the city centre from Aubrey's, Pepper Rocks is the newest addition to the city's pancake scene.
In a nod to the continental, the new cocktail bar in Pepper Street, off Bridlesmith Gate, also does a menu of crepes.
"Crepes were something that took off in other places," co-owner Luis Alonso said. "There are other crepe places in Nottingham, but it's still relatively rare – you don't see a crepe place on every street."
In future Pepper Rocks may offer other light meals such as tapas or cured meats and cheese boards. But for now, a bit of fancy pancake works perfectly for what the punters want. "In the early evening you might not want to have a full-on three course meal," Luis said.
The place also has the ingredients for the sort of pre-Lenten festivities popular in other parts of the world – say, Rio or New Orleans.
"We've got the full bar – we've got a good range of malt whiskies, vodkas," Luis said. "The cocktails menu isn't massive but I think there's something on there for everybody."
Over at Aubrey's, they wash down the crepes with traditional Breton cider. Meg keeps the old French ways going in the shop.
"We make this all with the traditional recipes as I was trained in Brittany," she said.
But what about trying all this at home?
Pepper Rocks manager Tom Johnson tends to be the man working the crepe grill. For him, building the perfect galette is something that required a bit of work, but came naturally after a fashion.
"It's new for me," he said. "I've only ever worked in kitchens preparing small things like salads and sandwiches. I've worked front of house more.
"It was just practice – repetition. You practice when the bar is closed and then you get better at it."