Restaurant Review - Harrie's Pancakes Graskop


We are pancake lovers, so I guess when you visit Graskop, stopping at Harrie’s Pancakes is a no-brainer. We had been traveling through Mpumalanga, and somewhere between marveling at waterfalls and taking in the sunrise over God’s Window, we took a detour and stopped at Harrie’s.

Both of us were raised with a proper South African paradigm: Rainy days are pancake days. You can test this theory on a rainy day in Kimberley. Just step into any of the shops where you can order fresh take-away pancakes, place your order and prepare yourself to wait for a considerable time. An all-round favourite at any bazaar is the pancake stand. This is where you’ll find some of the longest lines, which proves our nation’s fascination with pancakes. My favourite pancake is filled with cheese. Plain, strong cheddar is good enough for me, thank you. Even though I also enjoy all the other delicacies which fill the bellies of pancakes these days, I normally default back to cheese. My Angel are more prone to sweat ones: caramel and Nutella are more to her liking.

Although it didn’t rain on the day that we visited Harrie’s, the cold, misty Highveld morning encouraged us not to miss out on the opportunity to take comfort in some freshly-baked dough.

Of course, not all pancakes are the same kind of pancakes. There’s your grandmother’s crêpe-like thin version with cinnamon and sugar, rolled up and eaten in about three large mouthfuls. Then there’s what we know as the “plaatkoekie,” something similar to the British crumpet. The American pancake is basically a large “plaatkoekie”, and then there’s the Dutch pancake, a pancake-sized “plaatkoekie.” Harrie’s specialises in pancakes that most closely resembles the Dutch variety.

Harrie’s has a very smart interior, not my personal choice but clearly chosen for their market. We enjoyed the friendly staff and our waiter helped us choose between the big variety on the menu. My choice was made immediately when I saw the Dutch pancake. It consists of a cheese-filled pancake with some bacon mixed into the batter. It was such a treat! The combination was perfect and even if I had to assemble the perfect pancake, it would not differ too much from that. Even my Angel (in the throes of a mysterious fit of indigestion) was slightly intrigued by the different menu options, such as the Bobotie pancake.

For dessert I chose a milk tart pancake and well, that was a tad dissapointing. I’ve noticed the increasing popularity of the milk tart pancakes in the past few years, but this is a delicacy where I have specific preferences, as do most milk tart aficionados. Unfortunately, it was not in the same league as my Dutch pancake. Even my Angel was not tempted by the variety on the sweet menu, however she might be otherwise persuaded if she should find herself there again in better health.

Taking everything into account, I would still recommend Harrie’s as an excellent stop when traveling through Mpumalanga.

These days, baking pancakes has become a formidable art form. Intricate images are formed by the batter, but I am most satisfied with a simple combination: a cheese pancake for the main course (well, at least three), and a chocolate-nutella pancake or two for dessert.

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