“Every day, once a day, give yourself a present,” Agent Cooper advises in the original series of Twin Peaks. And what better gift to yourself can there be than a tower of wobbly Japanese soufflé pancakes?
This craze started in Japan a few years ago. Since then, Toronto has cottoned on, and in London the immensely popular Fuwa Fuwa Cafe existed as a pop-up in Westfield. Since late 2018, it is now in the Brunswick Centre and ideally situated for post-shopping victuals. The Brunswick site is a minimalist and sparse space, and the system is the same: once you’ve ordered your pancake and topping – perhaps matcha tea, or blueberry and yuzu – you’re given a pager device that vibrates uncontrollably when it’s ready to pick up. The estimated waiting time is about 20 minutes, although on my visit, at peak post-shopping hour, it was more like 30.
The reason for the wait is the slow cooking process, which ensures that the pancakes are cooked through but remain soft and pillowy. It’s all about using chilled egg whites that are whipped into a meringue frenzy before the yolks are folded in to the batter – the aeration process allows for a superbly fluffy result.
Guinness’ advertising in the 90s reminded us that good things come to those who wait but the near half-hour wait as your coffee goes cold does test your patience. The finished result is decadent and profoundly eggy – so much so I actually think you don’t need any of the more outlandish toppings as they would detract from the pancake’s natural beauty.
Food fads come and go so who knows how long this will last but it’s fun and just the comfort food we need in these times. And why stop at sweet soufflé pancakes? I wonder if the ultimate Souffle Suissesse pancake will ever be made. Now there’s an idea!