Straight from the grill
Can’t believe it’s already been a few months since Inko Nito opened in London. When I first received the invitation to this new Robata place in London, I was definitely intrigued. At the same time, I was being a bit of a food snob. I thought a Japanese restaurant from LA will probably serve typically healthy LA dishes, replacing rice with the latest grain trend or something of that sort. Luckily, I was wrong. Within the first month of its opening, I went 3 times because the food was so good. Each time convincing another friend to tag along, so I can indulge in my favourite dishes. Why has it taken me so long to write about? ‘Cause every time I try to describe the dishes, my mind just wanders off and imagines the tastes, craving for more.
What’s on the menu – The Kitchen
The menu is divided into two sections: ‘Kitchen’ and ‘Robata Grill’, each offering small plates perfect for sharing. One of my absolute favourites from the ‘Kitchen’ is the Tofu kara-age with miso mayo and nori. The tofu simply melts in your mouth and the mayo adds a delightful richness to it. But be careful not to burn yourself, when you bite into it – it’s hot! Another dish I order each time is ‘The cali’ nigaki, something between maki and nigiri topped with the most delicious crab, avocado and yuzu mayo mixture. To my surprise, I also really enjoyed the salads. Different to the regular green leaves with vinaigrette or Caesar salads you usually find, Inko Nito’s simple salads are simple but pack a lot of flavour. Try the Romaine lettuce with spiced cashew nut miso, great to balance out the fried and grilled dishes. If you are looking for a more substantial salad, then go for the Butter lettuce, avocado & quinoa salad with apple wasabi dressing – a beautifully tangy and creamy salad.
London Robata – The magic of the grill
Though, Inko Nito is a London robata place, so you will probably visit for the grill. Located in the center of the restaurant, you can watch the grill masters prepare meat, fish and vegetables skilfully. My favourite here is definitely the Bone marrow with smoked soy, garlic toast and shallots. It’s so flavourful, it’s finger-licking good. When I first went I shared a plate with Emma, but now I will always order my own (sorry, guys), it’s that good. While the other meat and fish dishes are tasty, they didn’t have the uniqueness and subtleness of the other menu items. However, do order a mix of vegetables. Have a bit of the Corn on the cob with smoked chilli butter and shishimi. It’s smokey, buttery with a hint of spice and tanginess, really good. Or if you aren’t afraid of garlic, try the Cauliflower with garlic soy aioli and parmesan panko, so creamy. Highly recommended.
When the interior deserves its own section
If you look closely at my pictures, you will see that not only does the food look great, so does its backdrop. LA based Studio Mai designed the space inspired by the liveliness of dining in a street market. This means that you won’t find orderly aligned tables in rows, but scattered seating with each table positioned at different heights to give guests a unique view of the grill. Simplistic, yet warm and laid-back, you could write a whole other article to Inko Nito’s interior.
Inko Nito – Worth a visit?
Okay, it’s pretty clear that I highly recommend a visit to Inko Nito. It’s definitely not the cheapest London eatery, more on the mid-range side, but it’s so worth it. It’s definitely one of those ‘cool places’ where all the hip people go with because of the inventive menu, minimalist interior and the grill show in the center. Still, Inko Nito manages to play around with Japanese flavours to create the most mouth-watering dishes that make you want to come back instantly. Funnily, I prefer the items from the ‘Kitchen’ over the ‘Robata grill’, but that’s just personal preference. So bring a lot of friends along to try a bit of everything from the menu. And share their Charred coconut soft serve with sweet soy, pocky & Japanese granola to end your meal (so so so good, despite the gimmick-y fortune cookie and pocky).