The Dirty Stall

Jimbocho Den

Posted on: November 24, 2015

Jimbocho Den is probably one of the more popular restaurants for foodies visiting Tokyo now, and I had managed to secure a reservation here, even though it was pretty late at 9 pm!

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The entrance to Den is not so obvious, tucked along a small and dark alley off the main road. Doesn’t help that their entrance is pretty dark and nondescript too, apart from the little sticker below.

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I think one of the reasons why Den is so popular is the jovial and friendly atmosphere that makes Den so welcoming to guests.

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The staff are fairly young and they really know how to make you feel at home with great service.

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So you get a more laid-back ambience as opposed to the more high-end “wear dinner jacket” atmosphere of some fine-dining establishments.

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The food served at Den is not just a modern kaiseki but a playful and at times whimsical dinner.

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The opening appetizer is one of their well-known signature dishes, the monaka stuffed with foie gras mousse and pickled vegetables.

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Reminds me of eating those delectable ice-cream waffles!

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Here’s the head chef Zaiyu Hasegawa. Even though his English is quite limited, he’s a funny guy alright.

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Can’t remember what was in this dish except it was a cold dish with silky smooth yuba. The gravy was delicious and creamy too, so I told them it was really the perfect summer dish.

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International kitchen staff it seems, I think one of them was French.

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When this plate comes out, everyone knows what’s next.

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Den’s most infamous dish – Dentucky Fried Chicken!

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Comes with cute little yellow birdie!

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And here it is!

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The stuffing inside changes frequently; this time it was glutinous rice and something else that I can’t remember. The seasoning used on the chicken was sublime and savoury – ironically the effect for me was that it became a super delicious version of our lo mai kai.

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Crispy strands of nori decorates an uni shell packed with uni and rice with nori sauce.

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So good…

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…I finished every last bit of it.

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Watching him immolate a hunk of beef.

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Kuroge wagyu that’s been slow-cooked in dashi for a long long time, then seared on the outside. Very tender with quite a unique taste that I’m not quite sure how to describe.

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Zaiyu’s Garden Salad, with over 20 different varieties of vegetables, many which come from his sister’s farm. And yes that’s a real ant, inspired by Noma.

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Little details like this show the effort put into making the dish. It’s really not just throwing all the leaves together in 1 bowl.

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A medley of special summer mushrooms. I’ve no idea what mushrooms he used but I think there are about 10 different types and they’re all not the usual ones we see all the time.

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It looked kinda plain but it was surprisingly strong in flavours, like there was a lot of meat/bacon cooked in with it.

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Pickles.

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A little amusement before dessert.

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This is Den’s Japanese tiramisu. It’s meant to mimic the Italian tiramisu but using only Japanese ingredients.

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And to end the dinner, a cup of coffee! No, actually it’s sugarcane caramelised for 8 hours, topped with custard pudding and black truffle. Very intense!

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