Taste the evolution of pancakes: Oven-baked Japanese hotcakes at TAM TAM in Jimbocho

Jimbocho is mostly known as Tokyo’s bookstore district. But what is the perfect match for indulging in your latest favorite tome? Cafes! And Jimbocho has many of them. You can find numerous small and relaxing cafes in the nooks and crannies of the area. One of these cafes is TAM TAM, a super popular cafe offering stone-oven baked Japanese pancakes.

The cafe we ​​are introducing this time is located in a back alley next to the A7 exit of Jimbocho Station. It is very close to the famous retro cafe Sabouru.

The Japanese pancake boom

In 2008, when a popular Australian cafe opened its first branch in Japan, it caused a nationwide pancake boom. Since then, various pancake restaurants have opened. The boom peaked in 2015. At that time, the latest trend was fluffy pancakes with a cloud-like texture. You had to wait up to two hours to get a seat at some of the most popular pancake restaurants. Although the tapioca (boba/bubble tea) boom in recent years has slowed the pancake boom down, pancakes are still in trend. Lately, a new addition joined the pancake lineup: hotcakes. ‘Hotcake’ is a Japanese term for what you would call ‘pancakes’ in English. It’s essentially the same thing, but hotcakes are kind of the retro version of a pancake. They are small, thick pancakes with a texture similar to bread.

My experience at TAM TAM

Founded in 1973, “TAM TAM” is a cafe offering stone-oven baked “hotcakes”. Their pancakes even get introduced in gourmet TV programs. That’s why there usually is a line in front of the cafe. But since it was a gloomy, rainy day, I was in luck. No need to wait outside!

The board in front of the shop shows their stone oven-baked pancakes and French toast.
The inside of the store gets regularly ventilated. Also, you have to wear a face mask at all times – except when you are eating, of course.
From the counter seating, you can overlook the oven and kitchen area. And you can smell the piping hot hotcakes coming right out of the oven!

Since the pancakes take 20 minutes to bake in the stone oven, I had the beef stew first.

The beef stew comes with a small salad and fluffy focaccia topped with butter.
The beef stew will warm you up! The large focaccia and the crispy salad were delicious!

Finally! The staff brought the stone oven-baked hotcake to my table.

That’s a big pancake!

The size of the pancake was a big surprise. Look at its size! I would say the thickness was at least 6cm (that’s about 2.5 inches). It came with butter, whipped cream, and maple syrup. This allows you to enjoy different tastes through different combinations.

Cutting into my hotcake just like an actual cake, the hot steam filled my nostrils with the sweet scent of freshly baked pancakes. Wow! The baking in the oven made it piping hot.

I would describe the texture like this: the outside of the pancake is a little crispy, while the inside resembles a sponge cake, or maybe a moist chiffon cake. Anyway, the combination of crispy and soft is perfect!

I ordered a dessert set. The coffee that came with the pancake was also very nice.

The size of the hotcake was much bigger than I had anticipated. I would suggest that if you order a main dish you should bring a friend and share the hotcake.

Other than the famous hotcakes, the cafe has yet another oven-baked masterpiece! The shop’s No. 2 dessert is stone oven-baked French Toast.

Poke the French toast with a fork to make it wiggle! The texture is like pudding. I never had a French Toast this flavorful!

I will order the French toast again for sure!

After trying the hotcake at TAM TAM, I understood why the cafe is so popular. If you are in the area, you have to stop by and try one of their stone-oven desserts!

TAM TAM (石釜bake bread茶房 TAM TAM)

Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/tamtam_140923
1-9 Kanda Jimbocho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/LihKUVfbULZDyy337
Nearest station: Jimbocho Station
* Takeouts are available.