Jul 4, 2012

Izakaya Den

A little part 3 to the 23rd birthday. Click here and here for the first 2 parts!

This is a really really really really really difficult place to locate. Especially when you are going there for the first time.

Keying the address into your iPhone maps isn't going to save you. Trust me.

The first time I went to Izakaya Den was for a friend's birthday. And my second time? Another friend's birthday! I need to break this cycle and go back there with no special occasions. Maybe for lunch. They have a set lunch menu which is only $18. Yes. Next time.

So, Izakaya Den. A Japanese Restaurant and Bar. Japanese Tapas. Now don't be deterred by the word tapas. First thing that usually comes to my mind is small portions. And I start to panic. But if you are just like me, don't fret! Portions are smaller than most restaurants you would go to, but it is definitely enough to feed you and your friends and after trying a few dishes, you'll be full by the end of dinner.

Actually, this post is going to have food pictures from my 2 trips there. There was more variety from the first dinner.

Despite it's slightly confusing/hidden location, Izakaya Den is always packed. Bookings are definitely a must for this place. If you just show up without a booking, you might just as well not show up at all. This does apply to weeknights too. So book book book! See phone number below.

Back to Izakaya's location. The first time my sis and I went, we were walking into dodgy-looking alleyways! Yes we did key the address into our phones but still, it did not help. It wasn't until this kind random stranger who pointed to us that you have to go down a short flight of stairs to get to the restaurant. First things first, go to the corner of Russell and Little Collins. After that, look for what I think, is a cafe called Guava something. Next to it there is a flight of stairs, so walk down, turn left and you'll see a glass door with black curtains. You're in. 

Food there is pretty good. I don't think I have actually tried a dish and went bleaugh. Some dishes I really loved and some I could probably do without.

Maybe while you are waiting to decide on what to order or just waiting for food, then I suggest ordering a sake mojito!

Sake mojito

So here is what I recommend the next time you head down to Izakaya.

Sweet corn 'kaki-age'
I love corn. So this dish definitely my favorite!

Kurobuta pork belly
Succulent and if you are finding that it is too oily, take a bite out of the chargrilled spring onions. 

Ox tongue, spring onion
Mussels, 'saka-mushi'
Dishes I could do without:
Spicy tuna tataki, garlic soy
Kingfish sashimi, Asian style dressing
Salmon sashimi, yuzu vinaigrette 
Ocean trout, 'karasumi'
I probably wouldn't have mind this dish, if they hadn't overcooked the ocean trout.

And of course, dinner is never complete without desserts! All desserts below are recommended! I definitely need to go back and try the others next time. 
Apple millefeuille 
Houjicha ice cream
Warm tofu cake, brown sugar ice-cream
All in all. Both dinners were good. Food was good. Service was good. I am definitely going back again. This time maybe for lunch.

Izakaya Den
114 Russell Street
VIC 3000
(03) 9654 2977
Izakaya Den on Urbanspoon


  1. Is that their entire menu? Or do they have a menu item that can be shared among a group? How is the restaurant price-wise?

    1. That is pretty much their menu, but they also have a special menu which is posted on a screen. The food is in small portions so you definitely need to share. And it's also better because you get to try more things. :) Price-wise, if you order a lot, it might hit $50? But definitely minimum $30.