Hanabusa Cafe is Toronto’s source for authentically fluffy, sky-high, jiggly Japanese souffle pancakes.
That’s pretty much all they do here, as is the tradition of such cafes in Japan, but served with coffee instead of the usual milk tea. Every batch of pancakes is made to order by hand using all natural ingredients.
The pancakes aren’t all that’s pretty here. Iron Design has turned this space into a kawaii wonderland, all white, pastels, gold and florals.
High quality egg whites are the secret to the puffiness of the pancakes, expertly whipped to a stiff, gelid texture and combined with the perfect ratio of flour, milk, sugar and vanilla.
The batter is then scooped onto a griddle where it cooks for about two minutes with the griddle lid down.
Another layer of batter is then added. Apparently if it were all scooped on right away, it would flatten out and not rise as tall.
Lastly, they’re flipped so they’re golden brown on both sides.
The Custard Pancake ($13.99) is their signature item, dripping in a thick layer of bruleed custard made from egg, milk, butter, whipping cream and cornstarch that solidifies the stack of three cakes in place so that it jiggles at a touch.
The custard is thick, creamy and sweet and the pancakes are to die for, incredibly soft and dreamy, perfectly soaking up sauce. I’m thankful for the fruit that comes with most pancakes and cuts the richness (don’t worry, most come with whipped cream too).
The Matcha Pancake ($14.99) is topped with a sauce made with matcha imported from Kyoto that has an extremely deep and beautifully grassy flavour and sweet red bean.
These more bitter Asian flavours contrast nicely with the sweet cakes.
The Meal Pancake ($15.99) is the only item that alters the pancake recipe slightly, using whole wheat flour.
The taste isn’t remarkably different but seems to support the flavours of their only savoury dish well, pancakes sandwiching flawless bacon and topped with an impeccable hollandaise and fried egg. Even a side salad pops with yuzu dressing.
A Chocolate Pancake ($14.99) benefits from the same egg white technique exemplified in the pancakes in a cloud of airy chocolate mousse heaped on top, balanced out by the texture of crunchy chopped nuts.
A Matcha Latte ($4.99) uses the same delicious imported matcha, which you can also get in non-latte form ($3.79).
Elderflower Iced Tea ($5.49) is pricey and very floral, but a more cooling option.
For coffee like Americanos ($3.49) and Flat Whites ($3.99) they use Hatch beans.
Hanabusa translates roughly to “floral house,” and the sights and smells here rival any garden.