Saturday, January 1, 2011

Izakaya Den: contemporary/Japanese/fusion/awesome food

There are plenty of people who harp on about the virtues of "authentic" food.

"No no, (insert restaurant here) doesn't taste anything like authentic (insert cuisine here)! You just have to try (insert snobby restaurant here/visit country) to get a taste for it!"

Well, if you are one of those people that makes statements like above, Izakaya Den is not for you. Stop reading this and find some authentic Gurkha food instead.

Izakaya Den, at it's simplest, is a Japanese restaurant. It, at it's most complex, is the essence of Japanese food combined with a lively/young/energetic atmosphere mixed with that new-fandangle "contemporary fusion". In other words: awesome!

The food there is served in servings made to share and as such I highly recommend going there in a small group. I say "small" since a) they don't take booking for less than 6 people and b) they can accommodate for 2 groups of 6 people at any given time. However, they have small table the they don't allow bookings for and seat on a "first-come, first served" basis.

Missing out on a table immediately is not necessarily a bad thing: one is seated near the entrance, where the bar is. Izakaya Den embodies the "fusion" sentiment not only it's food, but also in it's vibe: the place feels like a classy bar/lounge. While you're waiting for a table, you can enjoy some chilled sake while relaxing on their couch. The patrons there also tend to be young and decidedly well dressed/good looking (guaranteed to take your mind off the long wait).

When you do get your table, members of the staff are prompt and friendly with their service and tend to actually be authentic Japanese! They're more than happy to have chit-chats about places in Japan/food/whatever: an element that greatly contributes to it's warm and friendly vibe.

The food itself, if you have not yet gathered, is not typical traditional Japanese. Instead, you get such delicacies Eel with sweet sauce, Crumbed lamb ribs and (my favourite) tempura chicken with Japanese Mayonnaise. The cuisine is simple yet delicious and I found that my colleagues and I were getting second helpings of the tempura chicken in no time!

Izakaya Den might not satisfy hard-core foodies and their desire for a full degustation, but for a nice, chic restaurant that is perfect for the informal catch up/drinks with friends, you'd be silly to at least not give it a try. I'm sure you wont be disappointed.

Izakaya Den on Urbanspoon

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