I don't know what a crumpet is or pretend I know what it is for the sake of sounding more intelligent and cultured than I actually am (not cultured, not very intelligent) but I cannot resist telling people this "I had crumpets for lunch today, it was quite lovely." This is a long overdue review of The Crumpet Shop, overdue in a sense that I visited The Crumpet Shop early this year (maybe even last year) and I haven't had the chance to praise this quaint Pike Place institution.
I always start with interiors because ambience and decor is as important to me as the food and service of any food establishment. The Crumpet Shop is cute. When I first went to Gilbert's Deli on Main (bellevue) I thought long and hard where I've seen Gilbert's before... Apparently, it was at the Crumpet Shop. Walls are covered with posters, chairs and tables are mismatched, the menu is a blackboard posted against the wall.
This is a crumpet store after all so they have all sorts of spreads and accompaniments for their crumpets: orange marmalade, nutella, jam, cream cheese what not... For a small place the menu is pretty impressive. They did not stop with a "crumpets only" cafe, they also have sandwiches, breakfast goodies, lattes, (this is seattle after all), pastries, bagels and soup.
On my first visit I ordered a red lentil soup with a side of buttered crumpet with Nutella. The soup was sublime. I can't remember if it was a bowl or a cup but the portion was just right. I've never had red lentil soup before and I wondered why I've never had it before (that's right, you don't usually see vegetarian red lentil soup on any food place, ever.). It was thick and just the right amount of chunky. A dollop of sour cream was on top and it was just perfect all around.
So a crumpet is about the size of a Hockey puck, feels and looks like an undercooked pancake and tastes like one, too. Apparently, crumpets are buttered and then smothered with your spread of choice (mine was nutella). I could have gone without the butter. Butter plus Nutella equals sugar rush. But the crumpet was lovely. I don't think it's the type of pastry (?) or snack (?) you can attack. One crumpet was enough for me, I could hardly finish my one little crumpet much less order another one.
Staff's very friendly and accomodating as well. My first visit the guy behind the counter explained how the whole crumpet deal works and even gave the crumpet and nutella recommendation. My next time at the store the same guy kindly told me they were closing so I really can't order anything except for well, bottled drinks.
I can understand how a cute little shop like this survived for as long as they have, they've mastered unpretentious, fulfilling food and the art of customer service.