Eating pancakes shouldn't be confined to one day of the year says Stowmarket cafe owner Jana Tarling



There’s simple joy in the humble pancake. The alchemy of flour, eggs and milk, coming together into something many more times delicious than the sum of its parts. 

This Shrove Tuesday cooks across the world will be getting out their lemon squeezers (and probably scraping batter off the ceiling too). 

But every single day of the week is Pancake Day for Jana Tarling, who runs Suffolk’s only dedicated pancake house, Petite Pancakes in Stowmarket. 

Jana laughs as she talks about the origins of the café, which has become a huge hit in the town. Having run her own business in the weddings world in her home country of Estonia, she began working with now-husband (known Suffolk photographer Steve Tarling). “Anybody who has worked in a couple understands what’s that like,” she jokes. 

Looking to do something for herself, she saw pancakes as the perfect ‘blank canvas’. “It sounds very cheesy but you can do anything with them. Whatever you desire. Just make them with a little lemon and sugar, or turn them into desserts. There is so much space to experiment!” 

East Anglian Daily Times:

She admits it was hard at the beginning to convince locals they might want to eat pancakes day-in, day-out, but she now has such a loyal following, regulars barely look at the menu. “They know what they like!” 

Petite Pancakes’ main selling point is keeping everything as local as possible. “Of course, we can’t do that with things like salmon,” says Jana, “But our eggs are free-range from Hog and Hen where they’re all usually running around. We visited the farm and really love what they do. Milk is from Whitegate Farm on the A140. The animal welfare there is so high. It’s all Jersey and Guernsey milk. We have no packet mixes here!” 

The café's strapline is ‘pancake of all shapes and sizes’. “If the menu says ‘classic’ it means the pancake is like a crepe and it might be folded, or as a triangle. Then we do smaller ones too.” 

East Anglian Daily Times:

East Anglian Daily Times:

Around 15 savoury and 11 sweet options are available throughout the day, including English breakfast with a buckwheat pancake, an eggs Benedict pancake, and scrambled eggs with smoked salmon – ideal in the mornings. 

“I like the simple things,” says Jana. “So I would probably go for the chicken and mushroom pancake. It has chicken inside and then a creamy mushroom sauce with a little Parmesan and crispy onions on top. It’s really nice. My favourite sweet pancake used to be the one with raspberry mascarpone cream and white chocolate and raspberries inside. Now it’s our Biscoff pancake with Biscoff spread and biscuit crumbs. That is delicious.” 

Clotted cream and lemon curd aren’t readily available in Estonia, so Jana relishes in that combination from the Petite Pancakes menu too. 

She says there are three best sellers. 

East Anglian Daily Times:

Perfect Match is an apple, sultana and cinnamon pancake with maple syrup. 

The Family Platter is a selection of crepes and small pancakes with pots of dips and toppings for a DIY experience. 

And there’s a goats’ cheese buckwheat pancake, served with their own red onion and beetroot relish, pomegranate, rocket and honey. 

“We even do keto pancakes,” Jana reveals, saying she thinks there’s something for everyone. 

But what makes the perfect pancake? “I think it is loving what you do, and showing love when you make them. I do think that makes them taste better. This is the key.” 

Petite Pancakes will be open from 9am to 5pm on Pancake Day. It’s regular opening hours are 9am to 4pm Wednesday to Friday, 10am to 5pm Saturday, and 10am to 4pm Sunday. Find the café at 1 Market Place, Stowmarket. Call 01449 615322 for bookings.