Sift flour and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl. Stir in sugar, then make a well in centre.
Whisk together buttermilk, butter, eggs and vanilla in a large jug. Pour into well, then whisk until just combined. Rest for 10 minutes, if time permits.
Grease a large frying pan with a little oil and heat over medium heat. Pour 1/4 cup batter into pan, carefully spreading to form a 12cm round. Repeat to form 2 pancakes. Cook for 2 minutes or until bubbles start to appear and pop. Turn over and cook for 2 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a plate and cover with a tea towel to keep warm.
Repeat with remaining batter, greasing pan with oil, if necessary. Serve with toppings of your choice.