So Friday night has arrived and I’m off to Den Udon Kings Cross, for an evening of thick white flour noodles, with a few extras I hope. I’ve heard it is going to be healthy. That’s okay… I can be unhealthy on the way there and unhealthy on the way back, I may just survive the diet den.

Before heading to a new restaurant I like to do a bit of research (where it is, how to get there) but keep the intricate and exciting details of the menu and venue a surprise. I find it is best to let the restaurant staff’s expertise guide me though the menu, and I was particularly intrigued about the Japanese cuisine on offer here.

On arriving we went past the converted pub for 15 yards, before scrambling back and running in from the rain. I instantly liked the fact that they had transformed an unused venue, as there are many pubs in London that are being knocked down or turned into flats, but that is another gripe for another day, and into the converted pub we went.

We were seated on one of the simple benches with other guests and straight away a cocktail recommended by our waitress was handed to us. A Ginger Vodka delight which was simple and great. To start I had the Red Wine Stewed Pork Belly. This was my favourite of everything we tried, small but not too small, delicious cuts in a flavoursome marinade that were ample for a starter.

Onto main’s but not before another cocktail. It is important here to work through the cocktail menu as well as the food menu. The Bloody Den was fantastic, a Japanese inspired Bloody Mary curated by the delightful Director, Cristoforo Santini. I highly recommend this drink, perfect for a lunchtime refresher or a Friday evening kick-starter. For my main, I chose Prawn and Vegetable Tempura. I love prawns, but the sticky rice had little flavour. Japanese cuisine prides itself on its healthy nature, however a fresh sauce would have made this a much more complete dish.

Our waitress for the evening was very helpful and the Director Mr. Santini could not have done enough for every ‘bencher in the pub’. He worked the room and was a likeable restaurant director who showed passion for his restaurant.

I would always like a table separate from other Friday diners and my main course was lacking in flavour for me. That said Den will do very well, with a team always happy to share insight into the dishes and a Director with such a high level of enthusiasm. My starter and the drinks were superb, so take my advice and have an evening of Japanese health in Kings Cross. Just make sure you remember to stop off for chocolate on the way home!

More information about Den here:

Written by a Thoroughly Modern Male, Nick Gray.

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