Japan’s cult soufflé-pancake parlour Gram opened in Chatswood over the weekend, spawning hour-long queues for its plump three-tiered stacks. The new outpost is one of more than 60 Gram franchises around the world, which all serve the same thick, pillowy pancakes and have become something of an Instagram sensation.
Gram was founded in Osaka, Japan in 2014, and now has stores across Asia, Canada and the US. Each cafe around the globe uses the same pancake mix and equipment imported from Japan to ensure that every pancake is consistently thick, fluffy and spongy.
“Our premium pancakes [are] the perfect texture, being moist on the inside without being undercooked, and soft on the outside without being overcooked,” Gram Chatswood co-owner Michael Chi tells Broadsheet. He attributes the quality and consistency to the imported pancake mix and equipment, which “is mainly about controlling the balance”.
To make the pancakes, the egg-white-heavy batter is whipped, steamed under metal domes, then cooked until golden. There are eight flavours, including the ultra-fluffy premium pancakes; tiramisu; matcha; caramelised banana; and honeyed apple with Earl Grey-cream. The Sydney menu replicates what’s available in Japan, apart from one Australia-only drinks special.
At the Gram cafes in Japan, customers are limited to one order of the premium pancakes per day (that’s how popular and labour-intensive they are), but Chi and co-owner Scarlett Zhao have been given the green light from HQ to remove those restrictions to better cater to Australian hospitality expectations.
While most people queue up at Gram for the stacked pancakes, there’s plenty more on the menu, including French toast (in choco-banana, plain and berry varieties); drinks (such as matcha smoothies); and parfaits.
For now, customers will have to line up for their soufflé-pancake fix. But after just a few days of operation (and overwhelming demand), Gram Chatswood is looking into a queuing system that’ll allow customers to put their names down for a table and wander the area while they wait.
Gram Cafe and Pancakes
Shop 67, Podium Level, Chatswood Interchange, 436 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood
(02) 8084 0866
Mon to Sun 11am–9pm