Thursday, February 12, 2015
On the menu: Soufflé pancakes star at Aloha Kitchen
The fruit soufflé pancake is a top seller at Aloha Kitchen. As of this writing, $17.
If not for some intrepid chefs’ obsessions, we would not have the innovations in cuisine we have seen over time.
On one trajectory are global culinary movements flowing from nouvelle to fusion to molecular gastronomy. On the other is the simple joy of seeing just how far experimentation can push one particular dish to exalted heights.
Americans are accustomed to seeing pancakes and flapjacks in familiar stackable form because we’re comfortable with the homey sight. Not everyone has the same upbringing, but I associate pancakes with leisurely weekends at home, waking up to the sizzle of the griddle and sitting down with the family and a nice big bottle of Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup. Depending on your family tradition, that stack might have been accompanied by marmalade, jam or jelly, a tradition in no need of a remake.
But for people from Japan, raised on breakfasts of rice, miso soup, fish and natto, a pancake is something foreign that could use improvement. And so the tweaking began. How could they make these flat, flabby, chewy and somewhat leaden discs more exciting?
Enter the new, inflated eggy soufflé pancake. It has reached epic proportion at Aloha Kitchen in Waikiki, owned by Japanese Olympic trainer Toshiyuki Yamamoto, who also owns a chain of restaurants in Japan.
Just because he trains elite athletes, don’t assume he’s aiming to impose diet restrictions on the rest of us. The proof is in the soufflé pancakes that are equivalent to eating cake for breakfast. These are as big as a cheesecake. Outside, the texture is like a light chiffon cake. Inside, it has a silky, custardy meringue texture that is easy to devour, but much more substantial and satisfying than an egg-white soufflé.
The soufflé pancake is the highlight of the breakfast menu, topped with various fruit combinations. Considering the size and probable calories involved, I assume it’s meant to be shared, though I have no doubt I could eat the whole thing myself.
Aloha Kitchen is at 432 Ena Road. Call (808) 943-6105.