Pancakes, loved by everyone regardless of age, have recently experienced a surge of popularity in Tokyo. We will introduce the spots that are getting attention, from hugely popular restaurants from abroad, which started this boom, to cafés with famous pancakes that are being talked about. (Top Image: Slappy Cakes, Lumine Est Shinjuku Store)
"Cafe Kaila," given the stamp of approval by Hawaiians.
Of the pancakes from abroad leading the boom, Hawaiian style spots stand out in particular. Of those locations, Cafe Kaila won the "Best Breakfast Award" in Hawaii in 2011 and 2012. It is praised as having the most delicious breakfast in Hawaii.
When a location opened near Sky Tree in Tokyo in July of 2012, it quickly became a spot people lined up for. In order to have a more spacious shop and easier access, it moved to Omotesando, a fierce battle ground for pancake restaurants, half a year later in December.
The menu features a variety of Hawaiian breakfast items, but the most popular item is "Kaila's Original Pancakes" with all of the toppings. The chewy batter is sweet in itself, with deliciousness you're sure to get hooked on. It complements the tartness of the fruits exquisitely. At first glance, it looks like a voluminous item, but once you start eating, you'll find it rather light. The shop's Sakagami, in charge of PR, says, "The pancakes are made without oil or butter. It's not rare to find girls who eat pancakes and eggs benedict by themselves."
The shop is still busy every day after the relocation, but around 5 PM on weekdays, there are times when the lines die down. Of course, if you want to fully experience the charm of "Cafe Kaila," we recommend lining up in the morning and sharing "Kaila's Special Eggs Benedict" (limited to 60 a day!) and pancakes in a group!
5-10-1 Jingu-mae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo GYRE B1
Phone: 03-6427-1310 Shop Hours: 9AM-8PM on weekdays (last order 7:20 PM); 8AM-8PM Sat., Sun., & Holidays (last order 7:20 PM)
No set days off (follows building hours).
"Slappy Cakes Lumine Est Shinjuku Store":
A new pancake experience to enjoy in a group.
In January of 2013, "Slappy Cakes Lumine Est Shinjuku Store," a unique pancake restaurant, opened in the Shinjuku Station building, and it is getting talked about. The main store is in the state of Oregon in America, and it has enjoyed a high level of fame, including being ranked as "one of the top ten restaurants in America to visit" on a famous American TV show.
What sets this restaurant apart is that there are seats where customers can grill their own pancakes on a hot plate. What's more, there are lots of batters, ingredients, syrups, and sauces to choose from, and customers are free to mix and match.
We hear that the secret to making delicious, pretty pancakes is grilling them in a small size, about 12cm in diameter. "When putting fruits, which contain lots of water, onto the batter, the pancakes cook better if you put a little batter on top and flip the pancake," says the shop's Shinji, in charge of PR. Eating a freshly baked pancake, we found they were even softer and lighter than they looked--we could eat several. The batter itself has plenty of flavor, so deliciousness spreads through your mouth with each bite.
Most of all, grilling the pancakes together is fresh and fun. If you're with friends, you can order popular items other than pancakes, so this is particular recommended to group travelers. However, the shop is currently experiencing long lines, so make sure to leave extra time. Additionally, seats without hot plates have relatively shorter wait times, and you can get pancakes grilled to perfection by the kitchen staff.
Slappy Cakes Lumine Est Shinjuku Store
3-38-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo Lumine Est Shinjuku 7F Phone: 03-6457-4155 Shop Hours: 11AM-11PM (last order: 10PM) No set days off (follows building hours).
“Kissa Mimosa,” famous downtown pancakes
Only in the last 2-3 years have pancake shops from abroad come to Japan. Originally, the most famous pancake shops were cafés, and they were listed as “hotcakes“ on the menus, in the old style.
The shop being talked about in this café style of pancakes is "Kissa Mimosa," a 10-minute walk north of Senso-ji in Tokyo's downtown area.
The most famous item, "Big Hotcakes," is made in the classic style, fluffy and thick. However, most hotcakes are in double stacks. Here, there are five cakes stacked on one another!
Kawasugi-san, the shop owner, says, "We're close to Skytree. While that was being built and climbing upward from 300 to 400 meters, our stacks of hotcakes went from 3 to 4 cakes. We were having fun with our regular customers in this way." A picture of this got attention on the Internet, and now it's to the point where customers seeking pancakes come from around the country.
Of course the flavor is spot-on as well, with sweetness spreading through your mouth and bringing a smile to your face. The hotcakes are cooked one by one on a copper hot plate, so the outside is crispy and the inside is fluffy. The flavor is nostalgic, but has a deliciousness that can't be reproduced at home.
The homemade chiffon cakes and scones are popular, too, and the coffee and tea are made to exacting standards. The shop has an atmosphere that is both luxurious and at-home, with a reasonable price that is also charming. Why not try this relaxing downtown cafe, with its Japanese-style pancakes?
4-38-6 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo Phone: 03-3874-2933 Shop Hours: 8AM-7PM on weekdays (last order 6:30PM); 8AM-5PM on Sat., Sun., & Holidays (last order 4:30PM) Day Off: Monday (in the event of holidays, the next Tuesday is off)