The latest dessert trend is the soufflé pancake. An airy and light round stacked one on top of another, and dressed in a bevy of toppings. A few dessert shoppes specializing in this treats have opened up last year, with other cafes adding it to their menu. But “Gram” originating out of Japan is the first to coin this method of pancake preparation. And their highly anticipated opening is now set in mid February 2020.
The cafe is located in Aberdeen Mall, right as you enter from their 1st floor parking garage. The space was once a clothing store, but anticipating the eventual opening of “Gram’s” first Canadian location, the mall quickly renovated to install the proper ventilation system, so that they will be able to prepare and serve food. The cafe is spacious, with plenty of isle room in between rows of white lacquer tables paired with thin wire chairs and grey cushions. The restaurant is kept pretty simple, a “Gram” branded bar at the back and a mural advertising their premium pancake paired with a cup of coffee and spilt beans.
The chain actually started out offering regular flat, flap jacks. Buttermilk rounds that they still currently offer, both in savoury and/or sweet. Bacon and scrambled eggs or French toast style with chocolate and banana.
We tried their tiramisu sweet pancake with mascarpone tiramisu cream, cocoa powder, and milk chocolate. I am not normally a fan of the soft and heavy cream focused cake, but did like it recreated with pancakes here. You definitely get the flavour of the iconic dessert, but with a nice spongy base and powdery cocoa finish. A lot for one, so better shared.
But out of the two we tried, the “Premium pancakes” are definitely the ones to order; the name says it all. Each order takes 30 minutes to make. They are made to order, with only 90 plates available daily. They foresee themselves running out daily, much like it is in Japan. For now it is only available as “regular:” Three fluffy soufflé pancakes stacked one on top of another, finished off with house made butter, whip cream and a light syrup. With talks of offering seasonally driven specials in the future.
By the time we got to our pancakes they were no longer fresh. However, unlike other soufflé pancakes, these did not wilt or slough. They held their shape and their freshness, and were just as tasty at room temperature, with a mild sweetness and eggy finish. The butter offered up some salt, and the syrup additional sweetness, more like sugar cane and less like maple syrup. But the texture is what makes it special, the texture of angel food cake and pancake combined, crafted from a special pancake mix flown in from Japan, with everything else sourced locally, when possible.
In the future they are working towards customization of all their pancakes and the ability to top, smear, and drizzle each as you like. Along with a monthly premium pancake special, that will be reflective of the season and any festive occasions.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
From what I saw, they are promising an experience much like you would get in Japan; with the company sending trainers from Japan to Canada, and hiring as many Japanese speaking individuals as possible. I cannot wait to see how the Lower Mainland welcomes their highly anticipated opening, and how they evolve to cater to and be shaped by Canadian culture. Keep your eyes and ears open for the actual opening day, and be warned there will be lines and they will sell out early. Don’t deny your cravings.
1284 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6E 3Z6