Japanese food is known to be both super tasty and ultra healthy, so I had high hopes for a delicious meal at Den.
Location wise, Den is a bit of a walk from Kings Cross station, in what seems to be the middle of nowhere. The venue is very minimalist in design with long canteen like benches lining the joint, typical of a relaxed Japanese eatery, although not somewhere to spread out and relax in.
The restaurant philosophy is based around three things:
- The idea of ‘umami', which translated means delicious taste. Umami is a flavour familiar in Japanese culture as the tastes have formed the basis of their cuisine.
- Udon noodles – with less calories than pasta and ramen, these are perfect for the health conscious diner.
- Dashi – a delicate broth made from savoury ingredients that form the umami. One of the oldest Japanese recipes using shitake mushrooms, bonito flakes and dried seaweed.
Both the noodles and the Dashi broth are made freshly every day in house and diners can choose between a White Osaka style broth, or a Black Tokyo style broth, which has much more soy sauce in. As a self-confessed soy sauce extremist, I opted for the Black Dashi, but ended up putting even more soy sauce in for an even richer taste. A variety of options are available from clams & mizuna to chicken, mushroom & mixed leaves and there is sure to be something for everyone with vegetarian broths also on offer.
Smaller plates, ‘tsumamis' are available as well and are well worth a try before tucking into a big hearty bowl of noodles. The chicken kara-age are the Japanese version of chicken nuggets, and as you can imagine are a thousand times better! Also worth eating is the red wine stewed pork belly, which is so tender the meat literally falls to pieces with the slightest touch of a fork.
Den is an unassuming Japanese restaurant, serving fresh, simple food and drink, but the highlight for me had to be the authentic Japanese electric toilet, which warms the seat for you!
Cuisine Type: Japanese
Meal for 2 excluding drinks: £30
Drinks: Cocktails £5/£6 each or a bottle of wine £30 average
Den - Udon
Address: 2 Acton Street, Kings Cross, London, WC1X 9NA
Telephone: 020 3632 1069