After their successful first outlet at Vivocity, the Osaka franchise Gram Cafe & Pancakes opens the second at Waterway Point. They also have outlets all over Japan, in Thailand, and Singapore. Although they are best known for their wobbly, fluffy souffle pancakes, they serve savoury food too.
Exclusive to the Punggol outlet is a variety of mini don (priced from $7.90-$11.90), bento don ($13.90 to $15.90) that comes with two sides, and pastas. For our tasting, we were served the wagyu beef mini don ($11.90) and golden red miso prawn pasta ($10.90).
The wagyu mini don is topped with sliced beef fillet, onsen egg, and white truffle puree. The beef is prepared medium-rare, which is the best way to eat beef and also the tenderest doneness.
The red miso prawn pasta comes with an onsen egg, tobiko, and three tiger prawns. It is oddly sweet, which we don’t really like in savoury mains. Tastewise, both small bowls have that inexplicable “Japanese” style found in many of their local cafes: easy and slightly bland. But our main gripe is that the servings are rather small.
For more bang for your bucks, the Togarashi pink salmon fillet ($20.90) comes with a salad and roasted potatoes and a creamy lemony sauce. The salmon is thoroughly cooked — not those with a rawish middle — and I guess it’s a precaution against food poisoning. Thoroughly cooked salmon tends to be a little dry and they smartly compensate it with the sauce.
Their star is still their souffle pancakes, which are slow-cooked on low heat and whipped full of air, resulting in a fluffy texture. Each comes with their original butter, homemade whipped cream, and sweet maple syrup.
Between the Hershey’s premium chocolate lava pancakes ($20.90) and Lotus biscoff pancakes ($18.90), the latter is much better–we recommend it–but the former is a chocolate lava, that is, when you slice it over, molten chocolate oozes. But the chocolate flavour can come across as a bit boring.
What we like about the lotus biscoff pancakes is that it isn’t overly sweet. There is a nice balance that allows us to taste the pancake, that is, the lotus biscoff sauce doesn’t overpower the pancakes. And yes, the pancakes have the texture of clouds.
Honestly, I would recommend coming here for desserts only after you have your main meal somewhere else. Their mains are quite costly and even though their desserts are costly, their deliciousness overcomes the price tag.
Food: 5.75/10 (savoury), 8/10 (sweets)
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This is an invited tasting. Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.