Izakaya Den // Russell Street

Often, special occasions are heightened by the anticipation of a delicious meal. This time I was really looking forward to trying out the set menu at Izakaya Den. It’s been a while since I’ve had really nice Japanese food and Izakaya Den has made an excellent name for itself. We chose the $55 Kuikku set menu (however we ended up adding extra a la carte options spontaneously, so it probably worked out to be similar to the $65-$75 mark with drinks). There were eleven ‘dishes’ inclusive of the set menu but they came out in groups. E.g. three dishes would come out at the same time, then there would be a slight break and then the next four dishes came out etc. We added on the scallop, prawn and dessert dishes separately.Can I just say how crazy their drink menu is? It’s not featured on the Zomato page, but trust me it is extensive. They have creative scroll menus (which if I’m to be critical, can be a bit annoying to look through) which is packed with Japanese alcoholic beverages. If you’re after something sweet and less ambitious I’d highly recommend the Kirin Fuji Apple Cider (absolutely delicious and refreshing.) Admittedly it is very sweet but tastes just like Fuji apple.
1. Sweet Corn ‘kaki-age’ with matcha salt
This was a good start to the meal. Simple but tasty – you can’t go wrong with corn right? The matcha salt (loving the colour) was a unique addition but I found the corn to have enough flavour on its own anyway.
2. Spicy Tuna Tataki
It might be difficult to tell but basically there was six of us and each person is allocated a fair share. E.g. with the tuna tataki there were 2 platters of 6 pieces, meaning 2 pieces of tuna each. There were 2 sauces; one sauce has a strong horseradish type of flavour (quite overpowering – a similar kick to wasabi but I really liked it), and the other a more subtle seafood mayo type of flavour. The tuna tataki is raved about on Zomato and it was decent. 3. Grilled Sweet Potato & Shittake Mushroom
Honestly there’s not a whole lot to say about this one. It’s simple and tasty but also not something I’d order at a premium restaurant (just because it’s not value for money). Normally $9 for the pair.4. Fantastic Prawns with Yuzu Mayonnaise (ordered separately, 3 for $12)
I believe seafood is definitely a strength of Izakaya Den. The ‘fantastic’ prawns did live up to its name being juicy and flavoursome. The yuzu wasn’t obvious to me but I’d recommend trying the prawns. They’re not stingy sized either. 5. Hervey Bay Scallops with Lemon Soy and Panko (ordered separately, 3 for $12)
This was also a highlight. The scallops were cooked perfectly. I would have preferred it without the panko (the scallops were cooked so nicely that I just wanted to enjoy the purity of it). I felt the panko took the scallop flavour away so I scraped most of mine off. Continue reading

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Jonker Street Malaysian Restaurant

Happy New Year!! Today I thought I’d share with you my recent experience at Jonker Street in Doncaster East. I heard a lot of different things about this place and while I was keen to try my own noodle dish (e.g. Laksa) we ended up getting sharing plates with an unlimited rice bucket instead. We did make a booking just incase and  good thing we did because for a weekday it seemed quite busy. We were greeted with a friendly waiter and he looked after us for most of our stay.js-tt-3
Sweet and Sour Prawn // 22.80
The prawns were fresh and succulent! They had the typical sweet and sour sauce (you shouldn’t go wrong with this option) but it would have been nicer if the onions had been fried for a little longer (they still had a pretty raw taste – you can still see how white they are). Usually if I ever order a sweet and sour option we go for the pork, but this time prawn did prove to be a good choice. I liked mixing it up.
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Choy Heong Bean Curd (Tofu) // 16.80
Oh my goodness – words cannot actually do this dish justice. It was amazing. The bean curd was extremely soft (the softest tofu I’ve had in my life). The flavour was smashing and this was definitely my favourite dish by far. The bean curd melted in your mouth and I really didn’t want to share this with anyone else!
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Fishhead Curry Soup
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Tokyo Pop // Melbourne Emporium

Tokyo Pop TangerT (3)
Tokyo Pop is a nice and simple Japanese inspired restaurant in the Emporium. It’s quite cheap and there is plenty of variety on their menu. I have been pleasantly surprised by my visit here and wished I had found out about this place earlier while I was still visiting the city quite often. Oh well! I’m sorry I can’t exactly recall the food prices but below is my rough estimation (from memory it wasn’t very expensive compared to other places in the Emporium!).

Tokyo Pop TangerT (1)
Ramen (Approx $8-9) (Friend’s dish)
Tokyo Pop TangerT (2)
Seaweed and Tofu Salad (Approx $6.50)
This was actually really delicious. I was so happy eating this and actually it was surprisingly big! The seaweed portion is really generous and the sesame salad dressing is great for tying everything together. The tofu was really soft and I didn’t expect it but I felt full afterwards! It’s a great snack. Tokyo Pop TangerT (5)
Okonomiyaki (Japanese Vegetable Pancake) Approx ($5)
As I thought I would still be hungry, I ordered this to accompany my salad (with regrets because I was actually not that hungry to begin with!). This was nice, but one or the other would have been fine for my tummy! I like how generous they are with the sauce because it really lifts the pancake. I generally like Okonomiyaki’s anyway so I thought Tokyo pop’s rendition of it was good. 
Tokyo Pop TangerT (4)
This is the seating area of Tokyo Pop. It’s located downstairs in the Emporium – it’s one of those restaurants where you order and pay for your food at the front first. I would definitely come back and try other things on their menu, but honestly I think I’ll just be too tempted to get that salad again :)


Tokyo Pop on Urbanspoon