April 2, 2010

Izakaya Den

Basement, 114 Russell Street,
Melbourne, VIC 3000
(03) 9654 2977
Food: Modern Japanese, Bar
Website: www.izakayaden.com.au
Date visited: 25th February 2010

Like a little girl and her favourite lolly store, temptation could not resist me from revisiting the mouth-watering dishes and funky vibes created within the walls of Izakaya Den (Read about it in my previous blog here). They are open until 12am everyday (closed on Sundays), accepting last orders at 11:45pm! Very handy for when you're after something quick and appetizing to eat after a movie, work or night out.  It never ceases to amaze me how the most simple of ingredients can leave such a great impression on the tastebuds. Now, time for me to stop rambling and let the photos to do all the talking :)

I love these cute little mismatched cups, used for drinking water! Also pictured are warm towels, traditionally provided for wiping hands with before eating.

The day's specials, which flash, on the wall, alternating with short flicks of Japanese animation.

Genmai Cha (Roasted Brown Rice Tea) -served in globes of tea cups that are designed to protect your fingers from the hot drink inside.

Kurobuta Pork Belly 'Kushi-Yaki' - Couldn't take my eyes of these as I watched them being grilled. The meat had a delicate charcoal flavour, with super silky bits of fat rendered into it.

Sakata Coated Prawns with Citrus Mayonnaise - Plump and juicy with a deliciously crisp coating, what is there not to love?

Marinated Octopus - There are 2-3 whole tentacles in each dish, they are grilled whole and then sliced. Surprisingly pleasant and tasty to chew through!

Crumbed Lamb Cutlet with Red Miso Sauce - We really got into the lamb, eating it like a drumstick, which just made the experience even more satisfying :-) Ok, honestly it was just too difficult keeping it steady with chopsticks! Wish I knew how to make the sauce, it's so tangy, but rich and refreshing at the same time.

Wagyu Bresaola and Daikon Noodle Salad - The daikon was amazingly sliced into the thinnest of ribbons to resemble noodles and has a crisp, fresh crunch when you bite into it. Cleverly partnered with the cured wagyu, which completed the dish with its intensity and saltiness. You really do have to try it to understand what I mean!

Ocean Trout Belly with 'Kasuzuke' - This was one of the day's speicials. Look at how shiny it is! Evident of how silky and tender the belly can be when cooked properly. It was served with kasuzuke, which in this case was cabbage, that has been pickled in a sake mixture that gives it a mild, pungent flavour.

Seasonal Baby Vegetables with Yuzu Kosho - Broccolini, Dutch Carrots and Squash were served with a Japanese sauce made from aromatic yuzu rind, spicy chilli peppers and salt.

This is the citrus fruit, Yuzu, which has many uses in cooking, predominantly in Japanese and Korean cuisine. It is what gives ponzu dressing, usually served with tempura, beef tataki and fresh oysters, its fragrance and tart flavour.

Houjicha (Roasted Green Tea) Ice Cream - This tasted much like green tea ice cream, but more mellow and slightly creamy. The sweet potato chips poked into it were so delicate and crisp!

Fuji Apple Millefeuille - what an ingenious creation, it was a bliss devouring this

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