Japanese souffle pancakes were all the rage a few years ago, and it used to be that you had to dream of going to Osaka to try Gram Cafe’s yourself. A few places have opened in Melbourne that offer the treat a bit closer by though, and Keki Milk Bar is one such purveyor.
Keki Milk Bar is located in the CBD, but even with Google Maps directions, it was a challenge to find. The map shows it as being in the middle of a building, and trying to navigate our way in when there was no entrance there made no sense. We have since suggested a change to the pin location to reflect where it actually is though, which hopefully makes it easier for others to find.
If you are one of those looking for it, the dessert stop is along Queen Street, and is actually in the same space as Workshop Brothers. In a rather efficient use of space, it is Workshop Brothers cafe by day, and Keki Milk Bar after hours. The main clues that it is Keki Milk Bar are the posters of souffle pancakes in the window. Other than that, there isn’t particularly prominent signage.
Once you have found it and go through the doors though, it is quite a cosy space. The light cream walls and warm lights set a mellow tone. The polished terrazzo floors and muted wood service counter and tabletops are softened by the fern green accent wall and edges, and plants twined up fixtures. Laidback ballads from the likes of Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift help to create a relaxed, laidback atmosphere.
You order at the counter, and there is a menu with pictures to help you choose your treats. Their thing is souffle pancakes, and so there is a range of souffle pancakes with a variety of toppings. The different flavours come from the toppings rather than the pancakes themselves being different, which helps limit decision paralysis from too many options.
We were very tempted by the Matcha option, but ended up choosing their new offering of Pecan, which sounded a little more interesting – roasted pecan with maple syrup and a hint of caramel miso.
They make the pancakes fresh to order, but we didn’t have to wait too long. They were presented looking just like the menu photos, a little stack of two rounded pancakes, one squarely perched atop the other. The creamy topping was poured over them, just cascading over the sides.
The pancakes had good loft, and the pancake on the bottom impressively held its own despite the weight of the other pancake and topping on it. They also withstood the jiggle test well, wobbling without collapsing (unfortunately there’s no video of it to share).
When cut into, the pancakes were airy, and each spoonful in the mouth magically melted away to nothing. The topping had maple hints, with a sweetness that was present but light.
If you’ve ever wanted to try a souffle pancake, Keki Milk Bar is a good place to go for it. They have the texture right, and it is a laid back, pleasant place to be.
Price point: $13 to $17 for each souffle pancake dish (with 2 pancakes)
Address: Shop 4/190 Queen St, Melbourne CBD
Website: Keki Milk Bar