1033 Heidelberg Rd
Ivanhoe VIC 3079
+61 3 9497 4488
When ‘normal’ people feel like pancakes in the middle of the night, they head over to Pancake Parlour in Doncaster where pancakes come out of the kitchen and onto your table 24 hours a day. When people with slightly better taste buds and a hatred for all things rip-off-y and mediocre feel like pancakes in the middle of the night, however, they drive up to Stokers Coffee Lounge in Ivanhoe. While the pancakes here are better than the stuff they churn out at Pancake Parlour, the one thing that Pancake Parlour has a one-up on is their opening hours. Stokers is, unfortunately, open in the evenings and aren’t even open on Sunday nights. They are, however, open until 2am so it’s the perfect place to catch up with your mates after a long night of studying, or if you want to soak up some of that alcohol before you continue the drive home from the city.
Although the place looks really dodgy (for lack of better word) from the outside, it’s actually quite cozy and welcoming inside. Rows of simple wooden benches and tables line the small dining room, while extra rooms are available to the left should there be no more room as it gets busier closer to midnight. A fireplace not only provides a nice touch, but also some much-needed warmth especially at this time of the year while a jazz track provides some tunes. Essentially, it’s a place that’s perfect for romantic date nights. On the right hand side of the room, the retro-style kitchen is visible to patrons so you can see your pancakes being made from scratch.
I, along with fellow dinner crew-ers Linda, Shirley and Bill, may have just endured a three-course duck banquet at Simon’s Peiking Duck last night (review coming up soon!) but being the greedy fcks that we are, we couldn’t part ways without going for dessert. No banana fritter and ice cream dish was going to satisfy our sweet cravings so we decided to drive a further 15 minutes out to Ivanhoe. Although Stokers sell savoury pancakes and sundaes in addition to sweet crepes, the four of us decided to get a sweet crepe each. Wait, are they pancakes or are they crepes? Stokers say that they’re pancakes. Some food bloggers say crepe, others say pancakes. I wouldn’t say that they’re pancakes because their skins are not as thick as a traditional pancake but although they are folded and presented like crepes, their skins are too thick to be considered a ‘real’ crepe. For this reason, I will be using ‘crepe’ and ‘pancake’ interchangeably throughout this post.
Linda and I love the fresh strawberry with vanilla ice cream crepe (well, she also has it with cream too). It’s the ONLY dish she ever orders from this place and I don’t blame her. The tanginess of the strawberries, the warmth of the soft pancakes with its slightly crispy exteriors and the sweetness of the ice cream make for an awesome trinity. It really is divine and at $12.50, it isn’t really cheap (especially since you can get crepes for less than $10 in many places around town) but it’s a small price to pay for such deliciousness.
Last night, however, I decided to be different and order the spiced apple crepe ($10.75). I mean, apples are in season and the cooler weather means that anything ‘spiced’ goes, right? Why not? While the cinnamon and nutmeg-soaked cubes of apples tasted wonderful against the backdrop of two pieces of soft, warm crepes and a scoop of ice cream, I must say it wasn’t as good as the fresh strawberries crepe. Bill’s apricot jam and Shirley’s chocolate peach crepes were also decent (not as decent as mine, though) but again they were missing something. Fresh strawberries every single time from now on then.
Aside from the fact that this place is only open at night, another negative is that they don’t provide tap water free of charge which is bullshit if you ask me. Instead, you’re asked to pay something like $3 for a 1.5 litre jug of water. I’m not sure if it’s mineral water or tap water (if it’s the latter, then they can get bent) but with prices like that, you’re better off ordering a glass of fruit juice for $3.60. Another thing that may deter people is that it’s unlicensed, so it’s not a place you can get smashed at. But whatever, you’re just here for the crepes. No, pancakes. No, crepes. Pancakes, dammit.