Izakaya Den

Our dining experience at Izakaya Den started with flying colours but ended unpleasantly. Continue reading if you like to find out why.

As we were attending a farewell drinking session later in the evening, we decided to grab dinner in the city before. We were counting on our luck as we didn’t have any reservation made at.

1st pick was Izakaya Den as it had being on Mr. edible wishlist for quite awhile now. Mr. roughly know where it’s situated. We knew it’s underground and kinda of hidden but we still couldn’t find it at 1st. We went onto google map using our iphone and realised we were actually standing right in front of the entrance. Oh man do I felt stupid :-/

There was already a line formed when we got to the restaurant. Was informed there will be about 20 minutes wait and was offered clean towel for refreshment and menu.

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Menu was rolled up and bounded using colour rubber band. I mistaken the longer roll for food menu but it was actually drink menu.

As Mr. doesn’t drink, he ordered Nettai Nippon – passionfruit, fresh lime, basil,shiso,dash tobasco. It was very refreshing with initial taste of strong basil and ending with tobasco. It also had a bit of crunch from the passionfruit seeds.

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I started with Onoya no Kabosu – Kabosu is japanese citric fruit like yuzu, sweet and aromatic. It was very smooth, tasted both sweet and sour. In fact it doesn’t taste alcoholic at all.

We were seated at the bar, in front of the grilling section. Bar section on the left and hot food section on the right. It was a good spot, I always loved to watched the chef going thru the docket and prepare the food. I could even see the bartender prepare every single drink order.

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Sweet Corn Kaki-age
It was served with green tea salt? But do go easy on it. This dish was flavorsome enough to just had it by itself. It was filled with lots of sweet plump corn. It was deep fried till very crunchy but not oily.

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Char Siu
I enjoyed this dish a lot more than Mr. He felt there was too much honey in this dish. But the pork slices were cooked till very soft and practically melts in the mouth.

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Kingfish Sashimi
Mr. felt it was a very refreshing dish but I felt the dressing was too sour. It was a waste to cover the sweetness of the good fresh fish with so much citric.

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Fried Black Rice
Although it was a very simple dish made up of a bit of oil, small serve of black rice, egg and a pinch of salt and pepper as we observed the chef frying every single plate. It was also a dish that surprised both of us. I like the individually separated gains of rice and the bite of it.

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Wagyu Porterhouse served with pickled cauliflower
I loved the cauliflower. It was crunchy, fresh, sweet and sour.

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This was a piece of meat! But can I complain that it was too small? It was 1st grilled and finished off in the oven wrapped in foiled.

Barramundi Fillet with Hajikami GingerIzakaya Den- Melbourne
Barramundi Fillet with Hajikami
It was grilled very nicely and juicy.

The chef in-charged of the grilling section was very attentative regardless whether was it beef or fish fillet or whole fish head or vegetable. She gave them all the same care and attention. I loved watching her cooking with love.

Up to this point, we both were happier with the food we ordered, the service but all went down hill from here. As we both still had tummy space to fill. We ordered two more dishes waited for more than 30 minutes and nothing in sigh. The kitchen had definitely slowed down as most of the guests were either all done with their meal or had most of their ordered dishes in front of them.

We began to feel puzzled and wondered whether did the waitress missed our order as she seemed very busy just now. We had a check with the waitress whether had the chef began preparing our dish but she only came back to us after 5 minutes and said we will need to wait for another 5-10 minutes if we still want the dish.

I wasn’t very happy at that point because the table next to us placed their order after ours and they had all their 5 dishes served before us. How did that work? I suspected that the waitress didn’t punch in our order into the system until we checked with her. But she still gave us excuse that the kitchen was busy which wasn’t what we saw.

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Mussels
Nothing special and felt the mussel wasn’t fresh. The mussel wasn’t fat instead it was pretty small.

Marinated ScallopsIzakaya Den- Melbourne
Marinated Scallops
Presentation was pretty but that’s about it. Scallops was a bit dry. I wasn’t sure were the scallops cooked. The lotus roots were crunchy. But the whole dish was pretty bland.

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Black Sesame Brulee
Lucky the dessert didn’t disappoint us. There was a thin layer of burned sugar and strong flavor or black sesame. It was still soft and not over baked.

We were very disappointed with the last two dishes but lucky the grilled dishes made up for it. Did it live up to my expectation? I don’t think so or because I read about them too much and had too high hopes?

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