You may have heard of the Flying Dutchman, but have you heard of the Dutch baby? No, it’s not as morbid as you were thinking! It’s a pancake that’s derived from the German pfannkuchen and is also called a German pancake, Bismarck, or Dutch puff. It is reminiscent of a thick crepe that carries a more robust aroma of egg, and is baked and sometimes also served in a cast iron skillet. It is round, has a crisp turned-up crust, and comes in sweet and savory flavors.
The Dutch Baby pancake café named Idobata is situated along the shoutengai 商店街 or main shopping street, outside Futakoshinchi 二子新地 station. It has glass-paneled windows and makes for a good spot to people watch on a lazy Sunday afternoon. The interior is decorated with unique furniture that may be purchased. There are some items that caught my eye, in particular, the wooden and iron table whose chairs are pivoted to its legs and may be swung under the table and out, as well as a 3D polygon glass lamp. There are many other interesting and quirky products on display: wooden animal spoons, character tea infusers, watches, and bags, amongst others.
After settling in the window bar seats that look out onto the path leading to the bridge across to Tokyo (we were technically in Kanagawa prefecture), we pored over the menu eagerly. Lunch sets, which came with a mini salad and a drink, were available in addition to the a la carte menu. There were a plethora of sweet dutch babies such as blueberry, maple and gelato, and savory ones such as prosciutto salad and chicken teriyaki. Idobata has a walk-up gelato window right next to the entrance. The Belgian chocolate, blueberry cheesecake, strawberry swirl gelato, as well as the mango and melon sorbets looked delectable. We decided on the blueberry cheesecake gelato with cream and maple syrup, the Croque monsieur (ham and cheese on béchamel sauce), and the clam chowder.
The food tasted as good as it looked, and we were fully satisfied. The dutch babies had a nice doughy texture and were coated with a layer of egg, similar to French toast. They were a perfect base to hold the toppings and complemented both the sweet and savory versions well. The puff pastry of the clam chowder was buttery flaky and fragrant and oddly had a lot of seafood in it. The ambiance was very conducive to light conversation if with company, or for a book if alone. I would certainly come back for more!