Restaurant News

Ask the Editor: Where to Find Japanese-Style Soufflé Pancakes in Boston?

Check out these three local restaurants to try this rising brunch trend.


Welcome to Ask the Editor, Boston magazine’s dining advice column. Need a restaurant recommendation? Ask a pro.

A stack of chocolate chip souffle pancakes at Tiger Mama

At Tiger Mama: A stack of chocolate chip pancakes with Vietnamese coffee milk glaze and coffee butter. / Photo provided

Question:

My search for the #soufflépancake in Boston has been never-ending since I started research for a Japan vacation. I yearn to try one of the fluffy morsels that they love so much across the seas. Where does one find them in Boston? Do they exist?

—A.A.

This question landed in my inbox before the new year, so I hope that you spent the holidays in Tokyo tasting what all the fuss is about (and earning social-media “likes” for it). For any unfamiliar readers, soufflé pancakes are a rising trend in Asia—pun intended. The cakes are tall and thick but surprisingly light and airy in texture, thanks to whipped-up egg whites in the batter. Invariably dusted with confectioner’s sugar, bejeweled with fresh berries, drenched in syrup, or dolloped with cream, soufflé pancakes are a sight to behold. Indeed, the Instagrammability of this Japanese café treat is part of its appeal.

At Tiger Mama, pastry chef Dee Steffen Chinn’s pancakes aren’t quite Japanese-style, but they’re certainly inspired by the trend. She whips whole eggs together first, then adds buttermilk and other leavening agents. A stack is always on the brunch menu at Tiger Mama, but how the cakes are topped changes regularly; past flavors include blueberry buttermilk with ricotta lemon cream; lemon poppyseed with Champagne raspberries; and chocolate chip with Vietnamese coffee milk glaze. Currently, soufflé seekers will find churros pancakes at Tiger Mama, topped with cinnamon butter, Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, and hot fudge. (Available Sundays 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 1363 Boylston St., Boston, 617-425-MAMA, tigermamaboston.com)

The South End’s glam, Asian-Cajun seafood joint Bootleg Special has a signature soufflé pancake on its brunch menu. Like the house beignets, the pancakes here are a fluffy-cakey take on soufflé pancakes, rather than eggy. Confectioner’s sugar is sprinkled on top, and the stack comes with sweet sides of syrup and condensed milk—or topped with crispy fried chicken and bacon. Order these first; a perfect plate of soufflé pancakes can take up to 20 minutes to make here. (Available Saturdays and Sundays 10 a.m.-3 p.m., 400 Tremont St., 617.451.1800, bootlegspecial.com)

And finally, put Gen Sou En on your to-visit list. The Japanese tea house in Coolidge Corner recently expanded its menu, and pastry chef Amanda Stevens has been busy perfecting a version of soufflé pancakes to add to the mix. They finally debut Saturday, Jan. 19, dressed with matcha crème anglaise, fresh strawberries, and powdered sugar. The dish is on the café breakfast menu, available every day from 8-11 a.m. (Soon to be available daily until 11 a.m., 299 Harvard St., Brookline, 617-505-6745, gensouenteahouse.com)

There you have it: These are the places in Boston where we’ve seen Japanese-inspired, soufflé-style pancakes. Will these stacks rise to your Instagram-fueled expectations? Only one way to find out. Try them all.