'Food is like clothing, it’s a fashion': Inside La Creperie's evolving menu

Edward de Mesquita founder and owner of La Creperie de Hampstead, with manager Redouane Ait Iich at the new kiosk

Edward de Mesquita founder and owner of La Creperie de Hampstead, with manager Redouane Ait Iich at the new kiosk - Credit: Polly Hancock

With a brand new trailer, equipment and ingredient changes, it's all change for the 44-year-old pancake trailer La Creperie de Hampstead. 

We spoke to owner Edward de Mesquita about how his business has survived supplier issues following Brexit and a pandemic, and the secret to the food stall's most famous dish.

Since 1985, La Creperie has been serving crepes - inspired by his love of France - outside the King William IV. 

The business has become such an institution that Edward has trademarked some of the dishes on his menu including the Banana Maple Cream Dream.

Crepe in front of La Creperie De hampstead trailer

La Creperie de Hampstead's iconic blue and green sign is fashioned after the street signs in Paris. - Credit: Frankie Lister-Fell

These staples on the menu are unlikely to change, but the ever-popular La Crepe Suzette - a thin crepe made with butter sugar, lemon juice, orange, Grand Marnier and a secret dribbling of caramel - has a new adaption that will be launching "within the next few days".

After his annual visit to the trade show The International Food and Drink Event at the Excel centre in March, Edward fell in love with confit orange - orange slices cooked in sugar until they're soft.

"I've always loved trade shows. I used to go to this very big one called Sial in Lyon. It’s the mecca of trade shows. They’ve got people from all over the world there," he said.

With confit oranges, Edward hopes to upgrade the suzette classic, to make a "crepe suzette deluxe". He's also purchased a juice squeezer to make fresh orange and lemon juice with.

Crepe on hot stove

La Crepe Suzette being made. - Credit: Frankie Lister-Fell

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"I'm importing the oranges because they're so expensive in this country. I'm going to buy a palette of them to make it worthwhile," he said.

Edward's secret is storing large quantities of ingredients offsite, as ordering in bulk is cheaper.

Prior to Brexit, stocking fridges was much easier.

"I used to be able to buy things in cash and carries in France and bring them into the UK, but you can't do that anymore," Edward said. Now Edward has to buy from large overseas suppliers, rather than small businesses.

He hasn't significantly updated the menu in 30 years, but explains that sometimes the menu changes out of necessity. 

Edward said: "We've been finding it difficult getting certain products at the moment, such as ratatouille. I think that's because a lot of French products have gone out of fashion at the moment. 

"Food is like clothing, it’s a fashion. It evolves with people’s knowledge."