I used the excuse of Pancake Day last week to meet some friends at my favourite authentic French crêperie in London – Mamie’s.
What is a crêperie some of you may ask? Well, it does exactly what it says on the tin, it is a restaurant which only serves crêpes (and galettes!). Traditionally from Brittany, pretty much any city in France has a couple but in London it can be hard to find authentic French places like the ones back home.
Mamie’s is the brainchild of Aymeric Peurois. He is French of course, but we also happen to have gone to university together. I recall him and I chatting years ago, while he was still working in finance in the City, about his ambition to open an authentic crêperie. Fast forward to today and Mamie’s has featured in multiple magazines and on TV! Not bad at all!
He has no idea I am writing this post by the way, so Aymeric if you read this: “Hiya!”
Now before I share with you my favourite order, let me walk you through the crêpes basics. Welcome to crêpes 101!
Authentic French savoury crêpes are actually called galettes and are made with buckwheat flour. Any savoury version you may have had which wasn’t named a galette or made with the traditional buckwheat batter was simply not French. The sweet dessert version, actually called crêpe, is the most famous one, the dough is made with wheat flour but it should never be used with savoury ingredients.
The drink of choice when eating crêpes is cider, but not just any overly sweet British or Scandinavian cider. Non, non, non! I am talking about French cider from Brittany served in a bolée (a little cup). I recommend you have the ‘brut’ type for an even more authentic experience.
So if you are new to the crêperie experience, Mamie’s is a great place to start. Not only do they serve delicious galettes and crêpes, they also specialised in cider!
Now when it comes to ordering crêpes, most French people have a very emotional attachment to their favourite flavours. For us it is a dish we have ordered since we were little and we often stick with our childhood toppings of choice. In my case, it used to be gruyère (cheese) and sausage. A bit basic, so I have since upgraded to the much more sophisticated ‘Forestière’ – cheese, ham, egg and mushrooms.
Of course each crêperie has its version of it and in Mamie’s case, the mushrooms are sautéed with garlic and the galette is served with an added layer of crème fraîche and caramelised onions.
Each time I take a bite and I am sent back to my childhood vacations in Brittany, having lunch in a dark warm crêperie while it is raining outside.
For dessert, I am very partial to a lemon, sugar and salted butter. However it isn’t everyday that I visit Mamie’s, so this time I treated myself (the three of us did) to a nutella and banana crêpe. An indulgent classic!
So if you fancy a trip to France on £25 budget, go to Mamie’s! In addition to authentic flavours, you will be surrounded by French people. And trust me, it is always a good sign when you find us in so-called French restaurants outside of Douce France.