Il Den – Surprise Find at This 8-Seater Restaurant

When the friend asked where I wanted to go for dinner, this place came to my mind immediately but I also told her given there are only 8 seats, I doubt we will be able to get a reservation but she went ahead to try anyway (on the day itself). Well I was surprised that luck was on our side that day, we actually managed to score 2 seats so yayy to us. Singapore Orchard Plaza is probably not a place you would expect to be. There were so many empty/closed shops when we walked up the escalators that we asked ourselves are we at the right place? ha

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The man behind the kitchen is Chef Javier, the managing partner and chef of Il Den who single handedly prepares and cooks all the food. It pretty much felt like going to someone’s home to dine. It is cozy yet strange at the same time since you will be literally sitting with strangers beside you and conversations can be heard loud and clear. But if that doesn’t deter you, then you would have found a gem in this place. Chef Javier had experience in Iggy’s, Jekyll & Hyde and also an overseas stint at Cenci before deciding opening his own place. Asked why this location, he simply said cos rent is cheap here. There’s nothing fanciful about the interior but much thoughts have been put into the execution of his food. You can find the menu on their Facebook page and decide on the main before heading down. We took the $75 set dinner which has 4 starters, 1 main and 1 dessert. He only serves still or sparkling water but there are choices for alcohol as well

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We actually made a request to have some of the raw dishes changed since the friend was unable to take raw food

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Pate

Ground Pork, Cognac & Pistachio

We enjoyed the pate pretty much. The pate here is served fully cooked so you don’t have to worry about the raw taste. Love the smooth texture with the fragrance of pistachio, mustard and served on slightly salted crackers

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Uni Tofu

Homemade Tofu & Sea Urchin

Served piping hot with a smooth and creamy texture

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Somen (Replaced – Uni Tofu)

Somen tossed and served in cream sauce topped with chopped spring onions and served slightly chilled. The somen was quite refreshing to have and was recommended to have it soon before it dries up

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Scallop

Aburi Scallop, Caviar & Vegetable Garden

The garden salad served with house-made pickles looked nothing much but tasted pretty solid. The refreshing combination with the sweet scallops was a nice touch of balance

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Orecchiette

Little Ears Pasta, Ebi, Ebiko & Broccoli

This Italian pasta was quite interesting to have. Hand made by thumb and cooked in prawn broth and dashi, it was hearty and filling and you couldn’t stop eating

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Iberico Pork Jowl

The pork jowl was so delicious. The meat was sweet, tender with a tantalising crispy skin on a bed of smooth mashed potatoes

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Beef Short Ribs (+$15)

The short ribs was equally amazing. You can taste the charred flavour on its texture but the meat tasted more braised and could easily fall apart

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Sorbet

Yuzu, Lime & Ginger Sake Jelly

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Quite an interesting dessert to have that was slightly spicy yet sweet and refreshing at the same time. It’s definitely a good end to the meal with the cleansing of palate

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I’m thankful to the guys who cancelled their booking at the last minute. Because of them, I get to enjoy this amazing find. I’ve no doubt this place would get popular in no time as the food is simply amazing. Even though the concept is a little uncommon in Singapore, but I believe people travel anywhere for good food and who knows you might pick up a friend or two while dining here. Do note that this place only accepts CASH only but in desperate time if you have no cash, they do accept paynow and paylah (no, I’m not kidding)

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Il Den

150 Orchard Road

Singapore Orchard Plaza

#04-21, S(238841)