Search

Restaurant review: Den, King’s Cross

PUBLISHED: 12:04 30 January 2015 | UPDATED: 12:04 30 January 2015

Den: A simple, stripped back design lets the food do the talking

Den: A simple, stripped back design lets the food do the talking

Archant

You say umami and I say tsumami...

Growing up in the grand old county of Yorkshire we had to make do with four tastes: sweet, sour, bitter and salty. And happy we were as well. These young folks don’t know they’re born; nowadays they’ve got five. Five!

This fifth taste sensation is called umami – basically savoury, linked to monosodium glutamate and the meaty taste of protein – was only really recognised in the 80s. But it’s satisfying chunky flavour is one of the cornerstones of Den, a new Japanese restaurant in King’s Cross.

The others are dashi (a kind of soup broth) and udon (noodle), all of which feature heavily on a menu so serious about savoury, they don’t even have a dessert section.

Den is located in a former pub, but once inside, it’s stripped back, minimal and very bright so you can see who’s budged up next to you on the communal benches. There was also at least one diner in traditional Japanese dress; whether he was a tourist or paid to be there remained unclear.

Restaurant info

Den

2 Acton Street

King’s Cross

WC1X 9NA

Tube: King’s Cross/St Pancras

T: 020 3632 1069

W: http://www.den-udon.uk.com

Mains: from £6.50

Wine: from £20 a bottle

Children Welcome: Yes

Disabled access: Yes, no toilets

We got going with a few tidbits from the tsumami section (don’t worry, I misread it to start with as well).

The marinated clams, piquant seasonal vegetables and Japanese pretzels stood out from the sharing platter, while the star of the show was the succulent chicken kara-age, with a light batter chock full of ginger and garlic. Despite being soaked in miso, the salmon lacked flavour, though it had great texture and consistency.

And then the udon; you either pick black or white broth (we went for the former, swimming with soy-induced depth) then pick your topping - we opted for pork belly and duck respectively.

It is lighter than ramen (as promised), still with plenty of flavour, but there was a bit of a meat shortage in both our bowls, and the noodles became a bit stodgy by the end.But still a tasty snack, and the tsumami were excellent. Especially when washed down with liberal measures of saki.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Islington Gazette. Click the link in the orange box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.



Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Islington Gazette