Skip Starbucks and head to a premium Doutor for some of the country’s best pancakes.

Year after year, global coffeehouse chain Starbucks continues to take the limelight in Japan, with its seemingly endless array of exclusive,  limited-time offerings.

That means home-grown coffeehouse chains like Doutor can be left in the shadow of the green mermaid giant, but now it’s time for the popular cafe to shoulder its way into the spotlight, with a sweet offering you definitely won’t find at Starbucks: thick, fluffy pancakes cooked in an iron skillet.

After hearing the buzz online surrounding the pancakes, our resident foodie Mr Sato followed the hum to one of Doutor’s more refined establishments, called Doutor Coffee The Farm.

Known as “The Farm”, only four of these outlets exist in the whole country. Designed to feel like a coffee plantation owner’s mansion, these outlets have more premium coffees and gourmet options than regular Doutor branches, offering a more high-class cafe experience.

▼ Even the menus here look chic.

Mr Sato raised the wooden cover to browse the menu, and found he’d opened the door to a whole new Doutor he’d never experienced before. There were three specialty coffees – The Classic, The Doutor, and The Modern – available for 500 yen (US$4.54) each, plus tax.

There’s also a morning menu, available until 11:00 a.m., which offers a regular tea or coffee for 500 yen, with add-ons like toast with butter and strawberry jam at no extra cost, or a pizza toast for an extra 50 yen, and a hot dog or a three-cheese egg gratin for an additional 100 yen.

Mr Sato wasn’t here for a morning coffee set, though, he was here for pancakes, which are made to order (incurring a 20-minute wait time), and available from 11:00 a.m.

Mr Sato is a purist at heart when it comes to sweets, so he decided to order a plain pancake. The waiter took his order and before walking away, he placed this chess piece on the table, explaining that he would need to take the rook to the register with him so he could pay before leaving.

▼ A fun way to move forward toward the register after a meal.

After 20 minutes, the waiter appeared again, and this time he had the most magnificent-looking pancake with him. Once it was on the table, Mr Sato sat in awe of its beauty for a moment, admiring the fact that the sweet was served inside the iron skillet in which it was cooked.

Mr Sato poured some maple syrup on top, and was glad to see the hot iron pan was doing a good job of keeping the pancake nice and warm, with the butter beginning to melt enticingly on the surface.

The pancake looked so beautiful that it seemed a shame to cut into its perfectly domed exterior. Despite wanting to hold the pan up to his face and bury his open mouth into the mound, though, Mr Sato decided to save himself from second-degree burns and used a knife to cut into it instead.

And as he cut out a slice for himself, the blade of the knife crunched into the pancake’s surface, letting him know he was in for a real textural treat.

On the inside, the pancake was fat and fluffy. On the inside of Mr Sato’s mouth, the pancake was pure bliss. Not only did it have a wonderfully crunchy yet light texture, it was moist and filled with a subtle, sweet flavour that made it seem more like a refined sponge cake than a run-of-the-mill pancake.

▼ This is one helluva classy pancake. Person eating it, not so much.

This giant, fluffy pancake was so good that Mr Sato ate half of it before he realised he’d forgotten to add any extra maple syrup to his mouthfuls. When he poured a good dollop on the rest of the pancake, he was even more impressed, as it made the whole thing taste two, or even three times more delicious.

The pancake was one of the best Mr Sato had ever tasted, which is a big statement coming from a man with such a storied background in the sweet-tasting arena. After all, this is a man who’s tried everything from delicate bonsai parfaits to giant sakura sweet buns!

Cafe Information
Doutor Coffee The Farm Gakugeidaigaku Branch / ドトール珈琲農園 学芸大学店
Address: Tokyo-to, Meguro-ku, Takaban3-6-1 Daiichi Building 2F
東京都目黒区鷹番3-6-1 第一ストアビル 2F
Hours: 9:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. / 7:30 a.m.-9:00 p.m. (Sundays and Public holidays)

Photos © SoraNews24
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