Hidden in the basement of a building on the corner of Russell and Little Collins St lies Izakaya Den. Descending the stairs takes you to Chiodo, but that's not why we're here. At the very bottom of the stairs a black curtain hangs ominously on the left. If I wasn't with the boy I'd think I was at the wrong place. Push past the curtain and you'll find a glass door leading you to a restaurant bustling with patrons, chefs and waiters. Welcome to Izakaya Den.
Drinks and food menu
There was a wait even on a Tuesday night so we ordered a couple of drinks whilst waiting.
I ordered the Hyakunen Umeshu- plum soaked in honey and brandy. Absolutely delicious.
The bar, and further along the bar is a stonetop area for dining.
Perusing the drinks list which by the way, seemed quite extensive to me. Sake, wines, shochu, beer, cocktails, umeshu...everything under the sun!
Er, too many choices on the menu made it difficult to order? (no, not really)
Open kitchen concept whereby the chefs cook everything in front of you. The wait to get a table was around 20 minutes or so, but once your order is put through, they come flying out of the kitchen at top speed!
Fresh salmon roll with pickled konbu- pretty ordinary, but the salmon was very fresh!
Spicy tuna with taro chips, daikon and nori. I have to say- Nobu does something similar, and it does it better.
Deep fried sweet corn with green tea sea salt- was so good! It's a unique dish and the sweetness of the corn greatly complimented the salt.
Cocktail potatoes with anchovy butter. A squeeze of the lemon wedge and you're ready to rock and roll. I loved this, but it's because I like savoury food and you can't get any more savoury than anchovies!
Wagyu tataki with wasabi cream. This could be the first time I'm saying this about any of the food I've had...I absolutely hated this! I think it was cut too thickly and as a result it ended up being too chewy and raw. Moving on, moving on.....
This was the star of the night! Char-grilled duck with leek. It was beautifully cooked, tender and moist. I loved this!
Special fried black rice- nothing special but after the first few bites I tasted a little bit of sweetness coming through. Its texture is quite similar to wild rice.
Apple mille feuille- as the name suggests I thought I'd be served an apple pastry but no...out came this tower of apple sorbet on apple chips, drizzled with honey! It was refreshing but next time I'll pick the black sesame creme brulee over this.