For breakfast our initial plans was to go to a place my friend liked called Gram cafe & pancakes. There use to be one near her home and she said it was her favorite and was thus vastly disappointed with what we ended up with. Gram cafe & pancakes is known for its wobbly tower of pancakes that they only make twenty sets of three times a day at 11pm, 3pm and 6pm. I’ll do the math for you. It means only sixty people per day have a chance to eat these pancakes. The slots fill up pretty early and they stagger the time frame in which they’re sold. For example we arrived nearly an hour before 11pm and they were sold out until noon. When we left, maybe around 12:30 they were sold out. They are suppose to re-open sales an hour before each set, so the next time you could order the pancakes would be at 2pm for the 3pm set of pancakes, and then later starting at 5pm for the 6pm slot. (They take awhile to make)
They make other things and offer a variety of different types of pancakes, french toast, soups and sandwiches. However the star of the show are those limited premium pancakes. To get one you have to show up early and make a reservation. They write down how many people are in your party and how many people want the premium pancakes. My friend didn’t want them so it was just me. I was given a lamented card to bring back for our noon reservation. We spent the time we had to waste wandering around Harajuku and eating a breakfast to tide me over until second-breakfast. We had tried to see if we could go ahead and get a table and order something else in the interim but were told no. We were confused so we came back at noon.
My friend ordered the たっぷりさつまいものパンケーキ which was an Autumn seasonal special with sweet potato, sweet potato cream and extra sweet potatoes on top. It was 1,200 yen and probably only delicious to hardcore sweet potato fans. I tried a bite but it was not my favorite thing. After a short wait my order came out.
I was warned to eat the pancakes quickly. These pancakes are a special type of pancake also known as a souffle pancake スフレパンケーキ . The premium ones that they make at Gram are piled on top of one another in a tower prone to toppling. Which kind of ruins the fun of their wobbly-ness.
I was lucky and mine didn’t topple but the women next to me’s almost immediately fell over after one or two jostles.
The pancakes come with a small amount of syrup and some whipped cream and an almost comically perfect blob of cold butter. The pancakes are bizarre with a very light and fluffy consistency that didn’t make me feel that sort of weighted down itis I get when demolishing a beautiful plate towered high with pancakes. I didn’t feel sluggish or tired, even though this was indeed second breakfast. They did however taste very strongly (at least to me) of egg which was a bit of a disappointment. I’m not the biggest fan of egg so anything that reminds me of it just bums me out.
These souffle pancakes can be found all over Japan now. Gram itself is a chain that can also be found all over the country. I highly suggest picking a shop near where you’re staying or in an area where there are things you want to do, going early, putting your name on a list and then going off to explore. (Though make sure you’re back on time/ 10 minutes early because THEY WILL GIVE YOUR PANCAKES/TIME SLOT TO SOMEONE ELSE IF YOU DON’T SHOW UP) At Gram you can also buy extras to have with your pancakes, like fruit or other toppings. It was nice though the small amount of syrup they gave me was enough, much to my own surprise since I usually douse pancakes till they drown in syrup.