The soufflé pancake origin story is subject to speculation. Some sources suggest the pancakes first appeared in late-1970s Hawaii at breakfast restaurant Eggs ‘n Things. Others credit their inception to Japanese manga and anime Crayon Shin-chan. The puffed-up snacks gained a cult following in Japan before reaching a sky-high level of online fame usually reserved for pop stars and cats.

You can see what all the fanfare is about at Kumo Desserts, a dine-in spot that specialises in the Instagrammable treats. It’s by brothers Jason and Jin Tan, who ran a series of pop-ups across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth before opening a permanent spot in Melbourne’s CBD.

Unusually for soufflé pancakes, which often don’t have butter in the batter, the pancakes at Kumo are 20 per cent Pepe Saya cultured butter. This not only adds extra richness but is the reason for the pancakes’ distinct shape.

Most Kumo pancakes are made from the same batter, but are served with a variety of toppings and fillings including Jarrah honey, mango coulis or Nutella. A bestseller is the Boba Brûlée Bomb, a decadent creation combining the nutty sweetness of brown sugar with the chewiness of boba pearls, finished with blowtorched caramelised custard.

Each pancake is made on a machine Jason designed and takes 20 minutes to cook. You can enjoy house drinks including hojicha with cream foam, yuzu and ginger lemonade, and ube lattes while they wait for the main event to arrive. Kumo has a semi-open kitchen, and an airy and bright dining space, so you can also just hang out and catch glimpses of the pancake magic while they wait for fluffy perfection to arrive.

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Updated: September 6th, 2023

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