Izakaya Den, Melbourne CBD
March 26, 2012 § 1 Comment
There are a number of reasons why I’m not convinced I should blog about restaurants on the fancier end of the Melbourne dining spectrum: I’m not qualified, I’m not going to take photos of the food because it would be embarrassing and also too dark at night, I don’t want to have to think too much at these meals because I want to enjoy them and also drink all the wine, or in this case, saké.
Nevertheless, I think I’ll allow myself short and sweet reviews of the occasional fancy meals I do have. Most of these I will refer to as coin-jar dinners. I really do buy a $1 coin jar and once it’s full of coins we go somewhere nice for dinner. Budget Life.
The most recent coin-jar dinner was at Izakaya Den, which at 8.30 on a Thursday evening still required a thirty minute wait for a table (but you get to sit and have a drink). Groups of two will, in general, be seated at the bar. Don’t be afraid of it, you have lots of space and privacy and watching the kitchen is an excellent way to see what else you’d like to eat.
We had the pork belly, crispy beancurd, kingfish sashimi, fried chicken, and a plate of mushrooms. We drank negronis, sake, and whisky (whoops!).
The pork belly came out first, which was almost a shame as it was the best thing we had all night. Seriously salty (with extra salt on the side!), the pork was juicy and tasty and we saw it go from grill to our plate. The stir-fried mushrooms were the next best thing, a big plate of various Japanese mushrooms, chewy and sweet and again, salty. This is pub food remember, so it’s all about the drinks and the salt. The drinks are good, the bar is beautiful, and the place is open till 1am (kitchen until 12). Also, we didn’t end up spending that much, even with a few cocktails.
I think I’ll keep Izakaya Den in mind for a late supper and drinks sometime, with emphasis on the drinks. And next time I’ll try the scallops.
(Basement) 114 Russell Street
03 9654 2977
Open Monday to Saturday
See their website for opening hours.