But experiment I do. So here is another attempt - still not quite the same, but very decent pancakes anyway. I followed this recipe - http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/american-breakfast-pancakes-141 with the following changes:
1) No butter for frying. On non-stick pans all the butter does (at least for me) is burn. It lends a nutty burned-butter taste to the pancakes, but I don't like it, so... no butter or oil on the pan.
2) I let the batter rest for a bit (ten minutes or so). I am not sure if the mixture needs to rest, but I noticed that pancakes get better towards the end of the frying process. A Russian saying goes "первый блин комом" - "the first pancake comes out all scrambled" - could it be coz you don't let the mixture rest? The chemistry involved is, I believe, the forming of gluten cross-links, same as for bread dough; while for thin pancakes the soft support of "endoskeleton" consisting of coagulated gluten is not desirable, for the thick ones we do want some so they don't collapse.
I will continue with experiments :)