because I can't cook
Izakaya Den in the Melbourne CBD
|Address||114 Russell Street
Mon-Fri 12-2.30pm 5.30pm-lateSat 5.30pm-late
|Visited||27 June 2012|
Third time going to Izakaya Den. First time not missing the entrance on the first go. (Finally!)
The wait to get a table, however, stayed the same, about half an hour. But it was worth it every time.
Hidden underground with stylishly dark ambience (hence the shocking photo quality) was Izakaya Den. It was modern with a half-open kitchen giving you a view of Izakaya Den’s meal preparation (if you were seated at the long bar), and reasonably cozy despite its rather compact venue and tall, stiff chairs (that apparently did not suit a 5’2 person!).
Izakaya Den offered fresh, clean Japanese tapas and a distinctive collection of Japanese beers, wines, and cocktails. Not feeling too adventurous that evening, I decided to stick with my usual sweet wine, although my dinner was pretty exciting.
Picked randomly out of their rolled up menu was a combination of cold and hot dishes to share. On the cold side, there were the light salmon sashimi with yuzu vinaigrette, and poached duck breast with sweet plum sauce that was a little more substantial. On the hot, meatier side there were the kurobota pork belly (that was close to perfection except I liked mine with a bit of extra fat and oil), and tender lamb loin with neri kushi-yaki. Salad-wise, ordered was the green apple and red capsicum shire-ae, which was as refreshing as the name suggests, well balancing the meaty meals.
On the sweeter side, there were the salted caramel fondue ‘for two’ which came with grape halves and croutons, and fluffy house-made marshmallows (which also went very well with the caramel fondue). Both were very delicate, very sweet, yet still very light.
Everything I had that night was simply outstanding that I almost ordered more especially because at a glance prices were pretty average. However, given that after several Izakaya Den’s dishes later I felt the need to go to KFC for a second dinner, Izakaya Den did turn out to be pretty pricey for its tiny meal portions. Will definitely return, but perhaps for a similar arrangement; some after-work drinks and half a dinner!