One of this year's most anticipated arrivals on the Vancouver restaurant scene is the Japanese import Gram Cafe, home to globally-famous soufflé pancakes. The Osaka-based chain has four locations planned for Metro Vancouver, including one in Richmond at Aberdeen Centre, one in Burnaby at the Amazing Brentwood, and two in Vancouver proper (Robson St and Kerrisdale).
Soufflé pancakes are those impossibly thick and perfectly round fluffy and eggy pancakes that come stacked three high. At Gram, they call these their Premium Pancake, and they're served with an orb of butter, whipped cream, and syrup, but they limit how many they serve each day. Gram makes just 20 orders of their signature soufflé pancakes available at three times during the day, and since they are made to order, you may have to wait a bit if you're among the lucky few.
In addition to those "Premium Pancakes," Gram's extensive menu includes other pancake formats, like stuffed "Premium Smile" pancakes, classic pancakes, pancakes loaded with toppings or stuffed with fillings, breakfast plates, French Toasts, sandwiches, soups, ice creams and desserts, as well as tea and coffee drinks.
We've been waiting for Gram to open their doors at any - or all - of their locations, and as it turns out, Aberdeen Centre will be the first one to launch, with a planned soft open in early February.
At an invite-only preview event on Jan. 25, Gram's founder as well as staff from Osaka were on hand at the Richmond location to offer a sneak peek of their Premium Pancakes and other pancake dishes they'll have when the location is ready to open.
As promised, their Premium Pancakes are a showstopper. They melt in your mouth, and strike a nice balance of salty and sweet, and they are definitely a sight to behold when they land on your table, wiggling and jiggling and looking like they could topple at any moment.
Other offerings, like their traditional pancakes with toppings, make good use of fun flavour profiles, like baked apple with an Earl Grey tea cream and ice cream, or a more savoury set of pancakes with thick and juicy bacon strips and golden, creamy scrambled eggs.
You can follow @gramcanada on Instagram to learn the opening date for Aberdeen, and eventually the other Metro Vancouver locations of Gram. Gram Cafe is located in space 1360 on the ground floor of Aberdeen Centre at 4151 Hazelbridge Way in Richmond.