The other night I visited a hangout from times gone by. A time when restaurants weren’t open much past 8pm let alone 11, 12 or 1am. A time when it was rare to see an old building re-purposed into a modern venue. A time when anything topped with sour cream was considered the height of decadence. Yes my friends. I’m talking about the 1980’s.
The Pancake Manor loomed large in my youth. It was a place to go with your mates and behave like a grown up. Ordering crepes and pancakes in the surrounds of an old church restyled as medieval banqueting hall. Classy. It was hugely popular after attending concerts at Festival Hall, where I spent much of my teen years. I always wanted Chicken Nicoise ‘We call it chicken knickers’ or Beef Tabriz ‘diced beef marinated in red wine and herbs’ but usually could only afford a short stack ‘two fluffy pancakes topped with whipped buttermilk and maple syrup’. I went there that often that I can still remember the menu off by heart.
Last week we found ourselves at the far end of town after a few drinks so I decided to introduce Mr Tiffin to my misspent youth and take him to The Pancake Manor. I wish I’d let it stay in 1982. Barely anything has changed. The same medieval stylings, the circular bar in the centre, plenty of booths and absolutely gaggles of teenagers. Either pancakes are still in or they are so retro that they’re cool but there were dozens and dozens of groups of youngsters eating out with their friends. The short and long stacks on the menu were still there but sadly, Chicken Knickers was no longer on the menu. We chose simple mushroom crepes and chicken crepes in a tomato sauce.
Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry
Despite the crowds, our meals arrived quickly and that’s when my happy memories disappeared. The mushroom crepes were filled with a creamy mushroom filling which was fairly basic but wasn’t too bad. It sat on a pool of thin creamy sauce, possibly mushroom, flavoured with chopped chives and dried oregano. Bland but edible. Anthony’s chicken crepes were an odd combination of a chicken filling in a white sauce, sitting in a thin sweet tomato sauce, also flavoured with dried oregano. The chicken crepes were luke warm and the tomato sauce cold. We called the waitress who was totally at a loss at what to do. She immediately asked if we wanted to speak with a manager but we simply asked if they could be heated. The crepes were taken to the kitchen and back on the table in less than a minute. Warmer but not really warm enough. The crepes of my dreams had become the crepes you see in a thousand food courts across the country, heated in a microwave and dressed with some pea shoots. Edible but a lacklustre affair.
We decided to call it quits and leave the youth of today to enjoy the delights of The Pancake Manor. It wasn’t the worse meal I’ve ever had. It was just average. Perfect for teens and tourists and those wanting to get together somewhere quick and relatively cheap. Not so perfect for this Gen X-er. There was much discussion on social media about my visit. My partner in crime from all those years ago said ‘Maybe it was bad back then and we just didn’t know it.’ Maybe it was. I’d like to think that’s not the case but perhaps it’s true. Either way, my recent visit to The Pancake Manor stomped all over my lovely 1982 teen memories.
Visited: Friday 9th October – Dinner Service
The Pancake Manor
18 Charlotte St
Brisbane Qld 4000