When it comes to desserts and sweet treats, we can always count on the Japanese to take them to new heights. One such dish they did absolute justice to is none other than soufflé pancakes—the light, cloud-like counterparts of a traditional buttermilk pancake.
Like a typical McDonald’s hotcake, soufflé pancakes are made with the same ingredients: eggs, flour and milk. The only difference leading to their towering height and picturesque appearance is how the eggs are treated in the preparation process.
For a soufflé pancake to be successful, be sure to separate your egg whites and egg yolks. Egg whites should be whisked to form a stiff peak (just like how you would prepare a meringue) to reach its maximum aeration before folding it into the rest of the batter for the air bubbles to hold their shape within the soufflé pancake for it be tall, soft, and fluffy.
Soufflé pancakes’ popularity has indeed won the hearts of many Singaporeans, evident by the overwhelming number of eateries selling these beautiful airy stacks. For a fair and unbiased showdown, we have chosen three cafes specialising in soufflé pancakes—Flippers, fluffstack and Gram Café & Pancakes.
To keep things simple, our focus will only be on the most basic of all soufflé pancakes—the classic original pancake. It’s a plate that is stripped to its bare minimum, shining the limelight on the pancake itself, supported by a dollop of butter, cream, and maybe some maple syrup for sweetness and flavour.
The only Singaporean-owned brand amongst our three contenders, fluffstack is a quaint cafe located in the basement of Suntec City. Decked in pinks and whites, fluffstack’s menu is slim with only seven sweet soufflé pancakes for diners to choose from.
Here, the cafe’s All-time Classic (S$9.80) features two pillowy stacks topped with snow icing powder and crowned with a quenelle of chantilly cream. By the side sits a ball of homemade honey butter and a serving of Canadian maple syrup.
It took around 10 minutes after I placed my order for the buzzer to buzz. Throughout my entire wait, I spent a good two minutes watching my soufflé pancake sink on the counter as the kitchen staff slowly added the other condiments to the dish. Instead of serving a dish after it is ready, a total of four orders are done together in one sitting. As a result, my pancake probably deflated a centimetre or two before it reached my table.
As my heart ached at the loss in height, the pain didn’t last long as the pancake’s distinct flavour made up for it. fluffstack’s soufflé pancake had an unmistakable burnt smokiness which elevated its flavour profile, counterbalancing its strong egginess especially when eaten together with the maple syrup.
There were subtle fizzy and bubbly sounds as I cut into the pancakes. Although fluffy and light, fluffstack’s All-time Classic was comparatively denser than the other two contenders. If I were to describe its texture, it would perhaps be closer to that of a chiffon cake—slightly moist yet equally delicious.
My Instagram feed was flooded with curious diners queuing to get a taste of Flippers’ soufflé pancakes when they first opened in Singapore. After all, this renowned Japanese pancake chain has made a name for itself since it started its business in the Land of The Rising Sun.
Located in Takashimaya, Flippers specialises in kiseki (miracle) pancakes said to be so soft and delicate diners can easily eat them with two forks. As such, instead of getting a knife to cut into your pancakes, you will be given exactly two forks for you to dig into your very own ‘miracle’ soufflé pancakes.
Made from premium Japanese flour, Hinata eggs from Kanagawa and French AOC-certified butter, the Kiseki Pancake (S$16.80) from Flippers comes in a set of randomly stacked pancakes and a generous blob of their signature maple buttercream.
Although the soufflé pancakes might look rather browned, there was no burnt or smoky taste. Without any maple syrup, I appreciated that the pancake alone was rather sweet and can be easily eaten alone.
My only gripe on Flippers soufflé pancakes would be its overpowering eggy flavour which I do not fancy. Although the maple buttercream did not help much in musking the strong egginess, its slightly sweetened milky flavour managed to rescue the dish with its creaminess and decadence, making every bite more palatable.
Gram Café & Pancakes
With the most extensive menu amongst the three contenders, Gram Café & Pancakes not only offers a selection of sweet and savoury pancakes but also other brunch and tea-time options such as croissants and sandwiches.
Situated in Vivocity, expect waiting time here to be slightly longer as the cafe in itself is smaller in size, housing only approximately 15 diners at its full capacity.
If you are planning to try the cafe’s signature Premium Pancake (S$18.90), be sure to time your visit accordingly as these soufflé pancakes are available for order only three times a day—11am, 3pm, and 6pm—with only 30 limited servings sold each time.
Thankfully, Lady Luck was on our side during our visit as we managed to get a seat by 3pm and got one of the first batches of freshly prepared soufflé pancakes to feast our eyes and appetites on.
Stacked gorgeously mimicking the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Gram Café & Pancakes’ Premium Pancake was served with a dollop of homemade whipped cream, gram’s original butter, and maple syrup.
One glance at these cloud-like pancakes and you will immediately notice that vast difference in colour. Here, the soufflé pancakes were a paler yellow shade indicating a lower egg yolk-to-egg white ratio in its batter.
As expected, these airy delights had the least eggy taste and were also the fluffiest of all. They had a cotton-candy like texture, melting in my mouth almost immediately after just a couple of bites.
Even if you are not a butter lover, don’t brush off that humble-looking dome of butter that accompanies the pancakes. In my opinion, it was the butter that elevated the brilliance of this dish. Slight frozen, its ice cream-like mouthfeel made every bite surprisingly luscious, rich, and more importantly, irresistible.
Let me just end by telling you that this was the one soufflé pancake that got my dining partner and I snatching to finish off that very last bite.
Without a doubt, my dining partner and I agreed that Gram Café & Pancakes served our favourite soufflé pancakes. Although their Premium Pancake was the priciest, it was worth the money spent and the slightly longer wait.
While fluffstack comes as a close second, it ultimately boiled down to the condiments and smallest detail to attention and Gram Café & Pancakes’ frozen butter, to me, was just unbeatable.
I’m pretty sure some of you might think otherwise. If you have tried all the original soufflé pancakes from all three cafes, do let us know which is your ultimate favourite. Otherwise, if you think that there are better contenders for the title of ‘Best Soufflé Pancake” tell us in the comment section as well. I, for sure, will look forward to trying them out.