Westmoreland shop offers genuine crumpets, British style
A crumpet is neither a scone nor a biscuit, and while it might resemble a small pancake, it is not a flapjack either. So what is a crumpet?
"A crumpet is a crumpet," says Tony Guerrero, owner of the Scrumptious Crumpets café on S.E. Milwaukie Avenue, a bit south of Bybee Boulevard in Westmoreland. He curls his lip at any attempt to suggest they resemble English Muffins, which are made with dough – rather than batter, as are crumpets. ("Taste a crumpet," one of his customers tells THE BEE, "And you'll lose your enthusiasm for English Muffins!")
Guerrero goes on to describe his crumpets as "round and sponge-like", and further points out that they is not baked, but rather are cooked on a flat-top griddle. The batter is hand-poured into a custom-made ring, and the resulting crumpet is nearly half an inch thick.
"The texture, after being toasted, is more complex than a scone. The flavor, texture, and things you can do with a crumpet, are much wider than most baked goods," Guerrero says.
So how does this American know crumpets? In the late 1980s, Guerrero was a cook at the Tea and Crumpet Shop in San Francisco. "This was in between my skateboarding and late night punk and rock and roll days as a musician," he remarks.
Fast forward to 2017, when Guerrero, now a Sellwood resident, started making crumpets for friends and family. "They pushed me into the idea of selling them, so here we are," he says.
He opened his café in October 2017, and also began wholesaling crumpets to other cafés. "I wanted to try and do a few things with crumpets to prove to myself, and to show other small coffee shops that they don't need a large kitchen in order to serve a lot of variations around a crumpet."
He comments that crumpets make a really good and interesting base to work with, and they freeze well for a longer term, unlike most baked goods. (And if you are not going to have yours right away, you had better freeze them, since Guerrero does not use preservatives in his recipe.)
"We also have a unique robotic coffee machine that does a nice, freshly-ground pour-over coffee. I figured that if we were going to do something different, we may as well go all out," he smiles. "We've become a cool little breakfast/brunch/snack café, filling a void in Westmoreland."
Guerrero always tells people trying a crumpet for the first time to keep it simple: Just go with a toasted crumpet, butter, and jam, and after that, go crazy. The most popular menu items are an egg-and-bacon crumpet – or, just butter and a spread. "A lot of times, people will come in and order some variation of an egg crumpet, then also get a sweet one as well."
He has also come up with an apple pie crumpet, which consists of a toasted crumpet, butter, apple butter, and sliced apples, all topped with whipped cream. "I dot a little maple syrup on top to add a hint of maple flavor, and to give it a little bit of an aesthetic," he says.
And then there is "The Elvis". "It has peanut butter, sliced bananas, and bacon, just like the sandwiches that Elvis used to make!"
Most Americans don't know what a crumpet is, and so people admit to Guerrero that they often pass by his place for months, before deciding to go in and see what the café is all about. "We really rely on word of mouth. We have been known to stand on the corner of Milwaukie and Bybee and hand out samples – because we are also off the beaten path, tucked away in the back lobby of the Galaxie apartment building, two blocks south of Bybee," he explains.
Guerrero says that his "Scrumptious Crumpets" is, as far as he knows, the only crumpet café in Oregon. He also believes he is probably the only "crumpetier" who has served the delicious treat to The Who – when that band played in Portland.
Scrumptious Crumpets' official address is 7414 S.E. Milwaukie Avenue, and it's open Thursday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., at present – and closed Monday through Wednesday. The shop also closes early when he's sold out of the crumpets, which he makes himself. The café will also be closed for spring break, March 24-31. For information, call 971/808-1462, or go online – www.scrumptiouscrumpets.com