J.S Pancake Cafe was our first stop in Shimokitazawa, a neighborhood located on the west side of Tokyo. Shimokitazawa is mentioned in every list of ‘Tokyo’s most Hipster\Indie\Young\Popular neighborhoods’. It is casual and charming, with narrow crisscrossing alleys of low construction packed with vintage and second hand clothing stores. However, I personally found Nakameguro and Koenji to be much more attractive.
Since they open pretty late, at 11:00, we had an hour to spend but unfortunately most stores were still closed. We had to wait patiently, nurturing our hunger until they opened. J.S Pancake Cafe specializes in pancake dishes, both savory and sweet. On the menu you can find items like: Chicken Soup Curry & Pancake, B.L.T Pancake, Special Made Meat Sauce Lasagna & Pancake, Lemon & Ricotta Cheese Pancake, Apple Cinnamon Pancake and more. The J.S in J.S Pancake Cafe stands for Journal Standard, which is a clothing company. They opened several food establishments, this one among them. Sadly tough, their cloths are inedible.
During our visit, they served the Harmonic Autumn Specialty menu in addition to their regular menu. The special consisted of 2 seasonal drinks and 2 seasonal sweets. Of course we had to go with the star of the show: Mont Blanc Pancake, which looked so tempting on the menu spread (¥1240/$10/40₪). The other seasonal sweet was Mille Crepe of Chectnu & Fig. If I had an extra stomach I would have tried that as well.
While appearing quite innocent on the outside,the inside of the Monc Blanc contains two thick pancakes, sandwiched between two mille feuille layers. It is filled with cream cheese and raspberries and covered with thick sweet chestnut cream. On top were placed some chestnuts, walnuts and dried fruit.
We were also curious to taste a savory pancake meal, as we don’t often encounter those. Most items on the menu have a picture, which is usually something I dislike, since it remind me of poorly executed menus from the 90s. In this case the menu was quite appealing, with professional, mouth watering pictures for the dishes. We chose the Avocado Salmon Pancake (¥1080/$9/35₪), which included 3 pancakes with a generous amount of salmon, topped with 3 slices of Avocado, pickled onions and ricotta cheese. On the side we got a nice salad with dressing in a sauce dish.
I never tasted a strawberry flavored coffee, so when the opportunity arose it was hard to pass by. The Strawberry Flavor Cafe Latte (¥550/$4.5/18₪) was so tasty! I don’t know why this is not a regular option in all cafes around the world. The second beverage, Grape-Ade (¥670/$5.5/22₪), off the seasonal menu, was just OK. It was basically a grapefruit juice with cardamon, clove and a type of a Canadian juice. Kind of overpriced.
And of course, one cannot resist a Pancake Pie, when it looks this beautiful:
This is a soft airy pancake sandwich tucked between two crunchy slices of mille feuille. It is powdered with sugar and filled with a marron (chestnut) cream. This dessert was soooo good! Its sweetness was calibrated to perfection. Each bite was one hand full of pancake fluff and on the other rich with mille feuille crispiness. Along with its superb cream the entire experience was sublime.
Lovely atmosphere, nice staff, and the most awesome and advanced toilet we encountered during our entire visit!
If this is your first time in Tokyo, I wouldn’t recommend Shimokitazawa. If you have time for one “Indie” neighborhood I would visit Nakameguro. However, if you feel like you’ve seen enough of touristy Tokyo and you’re on the lookout for some of the most yummy affordable brunch, go for it! J.S Cafe has some other location in Japan, and specifically in Tokyo, so be sure to check if you have one of their brunches close to where you’re planning on traveling.
J.S Pancake Cafe Online: