We headed off for an early dinner and happily got a place without a wait. We sat at the bar table and had full view of the small kitchen. The whole area itself was small but had a really wonderful cozy atmosphere.
The menu reminds me of ancient scrolls!
The dim lightly was perfect for the ambiance but terrible for my pictures.
Chargrilled scallop with garlic & soy
I love that all the juices and sauce was sitting in the shell with the scallop. That way, I could slurp everything in a mouthful without wasting a single drop! The charred bits added a nice smokey flavour and I was worried before that the garlic would over-power the scallop but it certainly did not.
Sweet Corn Kaki-age with Green Tea Salt
These balls of deep-fried sweet corn came piping hot- straight from the deep-fryer!! And the green tea salt that came with the dish went brilliantly well with the sweetness of corn. The batter was light, crisp and just enough to hold the kernels together.
Tuna tataki with spicy mayo and wasabi mayo
Three beautiful slices of tuna was paired with a spicy mayo while the other three paired up with a tangy wasabi mayo. The tuna was ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ fresh but I did wish that the mayo has a stronger kick to it.
Deep-Fried Chicken Den
If my brother had to live on one food for the rest of his life, deep-fried chicken would probably be in his priority list. So, there was no surprise when we ordered this dish! Like the sweet corn, the chicken arrived freshly deep-fried (yes, we were sitting opposite the deep-fryer). The chicken was tender, succulent and coated with a well-seasoned batter. This dish came with a creamy mayo dipping which tasted like Kewpie’s mayo. My brother would gladly have this everyday.
The chicken came with a generous amount of mayo!
Zucchini and Pickled Ginger Tempura
When I ordered this, I imagined the zucchini and the pickled ginger to be separately deep-fried. But this was a pleasant surprise. Bits of pickled ginger was stuck in a slice of zucchini, coated with a tempura batter and deep-fried. (I see a deep-frying theme!). It was a great ‘in-between’ dish to cleanse my palate from the rich flavours in other dishes.
Izakaya Den’s Trifle
For dessert, contemplated between a sesame creme brulee or a trifle. But when the waiter informed us that the trifle has mousse, ice cream and mochi, we had no trouble picking the trifle! If I’m not mistaken, there was green tea mousse, sesame ice cream, red bean mochi and a sprinkle of tiny crunchy balls. It was texturally exciting - there was bits of creaminess and smoothness from the mousse and ice cream, chewiness from the mochi and crunchiness from the tiny balls. I’m certainly glad that we chose this over the creme brulee!
There is no doubt in my mind that I would certainly return for another meal and probably give that sesame creme brulee a try!
114 Russell St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Melbourne, VIC 3000