Inito Shoreditch: Feed Your Soul
A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be part of a big group of food bloggers to be asked to try out the food at Inito. The evening was arranged by friend, and fellow foodie blogger, Nayna Kanabar, who writes at Simply Sensational Food.
Inito opened in December 2014, and was set up by the talented Saurabh Nath, previously a chef at the Michelin starred restaurant, Benares. The restaurant is located in Liverpool Street, just a stones throw away from trendy Shoreditch, which makes Inito a perfect retreat for city workers wanting a change from their usual grab and go sandwiches, and for those wanting to catch up with friends and loved ones over a casual dinner. Inito offers traditional street food dishes popular across the Indian subcontinent. The decor is minimalistic, with long wooden tables, low lighting and an open plan kitchen, which gives Inito its rustic charm.
Having spent a lot of time in India, with most of my summer holidays travelling up and down the country visiting friends and family, I have sampled many dishes and enjoyed the variety of flavours and cooking styles the country has to offer. This has also made me very critical of Indian restaurants in the UK, with many of them lacking that authentic Indian taste. But as much as I tried to pick faults with Inito, I was left pleasantly surprised with its food offerings.
We started the evening with a cold and refreshing glass of lassi. The traditional yoghurt based drink is popular across the Indian subcontinent, with the savoury version made up of salt, spices and fresh mint leaves, and the sweet version often made with mangoes (although I have seen other fruits used too, and have even come across a chilli chocolate lassi version before).
After quenching our thirsts, we sampled their house speciality, crunchy chicken lollipops, which will make you quickly forget a certain well known fried chicken brand. The chicken wings were served on a wooden platter with a delicate masala dosa, a savoury crispy pancake made from a fermented rice and lentils batter, with a soft pillowy potato filling. This was quickly followed by a plate of pani puris, which some of you may also know as the gol gappa or puchkas. They are a popular street food in India, made up of crisp fried dough balls (puris), which are often filled with boiled potatoes, chick peas and sweetened tamarind chutney. These are then dunked into a bowl of tangy water (pani), which is made up of a number of spices to give it a sour, sweet and spicy flavour in one moutful. It is my favourite snack in India, and Inito did not disappoint. We were also given two huge bowls of bhel puri, made from puffed rice, sev (crispy fried noodles), tomatoes, potatoes, and onion, served with a sweet tamarind chutney, and a fiery green chutney; and dahi puri, which is similar to bhel puri, but with the addition of yoghurt and puris.
At this point, many of us were starting to feel like we were bursting at the seams, only to be greeted by the famous Kolkata street food snack, the Kati roll. We were lucky enough to sample a vegetarian version made up of paneer, a type of Indian cheese (see picture below), as well as a lamb version, a chicken one and a prawn roll. All were delicious, with many preferring the lamb roll, although the chicken stole my vote that night.
So you would think by this time we would be looking at desert menus? Wrong! We were suddenly met with yet more food, this time classic main course dishes, including a traditional Hyderabadi-style dum biryani, which was slow cooked in a clay pot that had been sealed with dough. We sampled a vegetarian version and a lamb version, and both were equally delicious. We were most surprised at how every grain of rice was perfectly cooked, and how soft and tender the lamb tasted. This was served with a platter of classic tandoori dishes from the Punjab region, made up of charcoaled lamb chop, paneer, amritsari fish and spicy chicken; Karahi chicken, popular in both India and Pakistan; and sarsaon ka saag, slow cooked spinach, which is tempered with garlic, chilli and spices.
By now we were bursting at the sides with all the delicious food consumed, and just the mention of the words Desert Menu, had us protesting to the waiters that we couldn’t possibly eat any more. Our protests were ignored, with the waiter bringing us a plate of gulab jamuns (fried donuts immersed in a sweet syrup that has been infused with rose water and cardomom); ras golla (a popular Bengali dessert made from sweetened indian cheese, which are shaped in round balls and immersed in a sugary sweet syrup); an assortment of kulfis (Indian style ice cream), and the pièces de résistance, Chocolate Fondant with Horlicks Ice Cream, which was wonderfully gooey. A perfect way to round up a fantastic evening, full of laughter, good company, and delicious food.
We all thoroughly enjoyed our evening at Inito, and with the restaurant being so close to me, I will definitely be returning with friends and families. It was lovely catching up with old friends, and making new ones. Thank you to the lovely team at Inito for a wonderful evening, and to head chef Saurabh Nath, for giving his an adventure around India, sampling popular dishes from different parts of the country. And once again, a special thanks to Nayna of Simple Sensational Food, for organising the perfect evening.
Note: I was invited to try the food at Inito, but all the opinions in this post are my own. The pictures above were taken from my iphone, but i will be returning to the restaurant with my DSLR in hand to take some decent shots of the food, and the restaurant. But trust me Inito will leave you satisfied and wanting to return for another exotic adventure in India.
If you would like to know more about Inito, please check out the pages of other bloggers who were also invited:
- Nayna Kanabar: http://www.simplysensationalfood.com
- Sylvia Filozof: http://happiness-is-homemade.com
- Manjiri Chitnis: https://sliceoffme.wordpress.com
- Fiona Maclean: http://www.london-unattached.com
- Madeleine Morrow: http://fromthehealthyheart.com
- Andy Hatten: http://getawriggleon.com