Californian pancake and diner chain IHop brings its wholesome fare to Bangna
FANCY A piece of California’s dream pancake? If so, you’re in luck –North America’s oldest International House of Pancakes aka IHOP, recently opened its third branch in Bangkok at Mega Bangna and it’s packing ’em in.
Founded by Al and Jerry Lapin along with Trudy Kallis in 1958, the diner’s first branch was in the Los Angeles suburb of Toluca Lake.
It secret to success, reveals Gary Moore, regional vice president, is being honest and doing what they do well.
“For our pancakes, we have just one recipe throughout the world. India is an exception, as there we introduced a vegetarian pancake that has no eggs in it. It took us two years to develop a mix that was just right and identical to the pancake with eggs. So you see, it requires a lot of effort to do something that simple.”
Authentic Buttermilk pancake with strawberry syrup.
Traditionally, IHOP has been the place where people connect over pancakes and breakfast, a family meal, or a coffee break with pancakes and strawberry sauce. It’s also a great venue to grab a bite before or after sporting events or perhaps after a movie.
“The main thing is that our guests have a nice experience. We are here to provide the family with a pleasant environment, good food and good service at a price that most people can afford. We have great partners in the USA and elsewhere. That means we get solid business and are part of the communities as the restaurants are run by local people,” Moore continues.
There are currently more than 1,600 IHOP restaurants in all 50 US states along with 33 branches in the Bahrain, Dubai and Kuwait, as well as 70 outlets in Latin America, Mexico, Canada and Asia.
In Thailand, IHOP is operated by King of Pancake, a subsidiary of Dr Ausanee Mahagitsiri Leonio’s King Food Group. The group comprises many high grossing chains such as Krispy Kreme, Cinnabon, Bulgogi Brothers, and Pie Face.
The new IHOP branch at Mega Bangna is faithful to the original Californian d้cor and at 268 square metres, is also its biggest branch in Thailand.
“We talk about blue sky, blue sea, white sand, yellow sunshine, and natural wood. Our IHOP ceilings are painted blue. The original photograph we have of the first store is in black and white though so you have to trust us that it is blue,” he smiles.
Natural materials are important to IHOP so you won’t find a trace of plastic in the restaurant, which features a small open kitchen and a juice bar.
The menu is straightforward and the pancakes are offered with a variety of toppings.
Here pancakes are part of the main course, side dishes and dessert. Since it is ideal for breakfast, the restaurant opens at 7am and stays that way until 10pm. In the United States, it’s open 24 hours.
The must-have is the Breakfast Sampler (Bt270), which features your choice of pancake plus two eggs any style, hash browns and two bacon strips or sausages links. The texture of the Original Buttermilk pancake is just right, soft inside and a little crisp on the outer rim.
Berry and Cream Waffle
Other pancakes priced between Bt180 and Bt215 include the famous Rooty Tooty Fresh’n Fruity, New York Cheesecake, Chocolate Chip, and Strawberry Banana with toppings that include crumble, sausage, egg, bacon, fresh fruit, whip cream, vanilla ice cream, and more.
“We try to keep it simple. People get the genuine experience, you come to IHOP to eat the pancakes, but we also have burgers and everything else too. Every six months we look at the menu, add something or take something out. We are constantly doing research. Some people may say ‘I come to IHOP in the afternoon and want a fresh cup of coffee and pancakes.’ Others say they come for breakfast, lunch or a late night meal. We cater to them all,” Moore notes.
“Different countries have their favourite breakfast and as we gain more experience internationally, we try to work properly. We wouldn’t try to copy anything we couldn’t do well. So we have both international and local chefs working together to develop the right idea. But the pancake will always be the same. We can be different too – for instance, if people say they love green tea, maybe we can have a green tea pancake. Why not?”
Steak burger with fried onion rings.
The Appetisers Sampler (Bt240) is served with fried Mozza sticks, onion rings, and crispy chicken wings. Other dishes likely to prove popular with Thais are the Spicy Chicken Strip (Bt225) and the Chicken and Three Cheese Quesadilla (Bt195).
Burgers are also a big part of IHOP, with the Cheeseburger, Bacon Cheeseburger, Denver Omelette, and Mushroom, Spinach, and Swiss Burger all priced at Bt240.
The portions are generous so dishes like Sirloin Steak Tips (Bt270), Classic Ribeye Dinner (Bt595), Fish Horentine (Bt250) and Chicken Cordon Bleu (Bt255) can easily be shared.
However, the choice of vegetables dishes is rather limited – coleslaw, tomato salsa, and salad, the latter served with a thick, creamy dressing.
The fruits, though, are more varied, probably because these go better with pancakes and include strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, peach, mango and more. In addition, there are lots of different styles of sweet crepes, waffles and ice cream for dessert.
Most of the dishes are deep fried but for those of you on a diet, there is a wholesome breakfast under 600 calories that you can feel good about.
>> IHOP is at the Food Walk zone on L1, Mega Bangna. It’s open from 7am to 10pm.
>> Find out more at www.Ihop.co.th, www.facebook.com/iHopTH and Instagram @IHOPthailand