Last week I received a rare invitation to sample the menu at new Indian street food restaurant Inito. They launched just over a month ago just a short walk from Liverpool Street station. The menu is inexpensive thanks to the student halls of residence placed directly above the restaurant and there is a decent selection of unusual dishes, something that always defines an Indian restaurant in my opinion. I was treated to a banquet of epic proportions, so much so that I slipped into a food coma on the bus home and missed my stop!
Dishes such as pani puri, aloo papri chaat (£4.50 each) and bhel puri (£3.95) are more commonly found in the likes of Tooting and East Ham where there are large South Indian communities so it was a nice surprise to find them on the menu here. Bhel puri is made from crunchy puffed rice and sev (a fried snack shaped like thin noodles) mixed with potatoes, onions, chat masala and tamarind chutney. The result is a moreish combination of sweet flavours and crunchy textures, it remains a much loved delicacy on the streets of India.
Aloo Papri Chaat
Aloo papri chaat is one of my favourite things on earth, it combines mouth watering sweet tamarind flavours with crispy fried dough wafers, potatoes, onions, chick peas, chillies and yoghurt. This was perhaps my Inito highlight, not least because it had a really strong kick of chilli to it but the potatoes had a nice crunch as though they had been roasted beforehand. This is a dish that is extremely tricky to pull off well at home so I recommend giving it a try here.
Lollipop chicken wing and masala dosa
The lollipop chicken wings (£4.95 a portion) are an Indian spiced take on southern fried wings, extremely moreish and made even better by the generous selection of dips on the table. I highly recommend the ‘red dip’, nobody knew exactly what the red one was because the chef only introduced it that evening but suffice to say it had a serious kick to it and I demolished the lot of it by the end of the night. The masala dosa pushed all the right buttons too, this is a brand new addition to the menu as far as I’m aware.
Dips n stuff
Grilled chicken tikka roti wraps
Next up were the chicken and lamb roti rolls stuffed full of tender meat and vegetables, each with their own identities. They could perhaps have benefitted from a little bit of crunch but otherwise no complaints. These come in at a cool £4.95 each and are perfect for a quick bite at lunch time.
Selection from the grill
The salmon was the highlight for me with a sweet and sticky marinade that complimented the fish perfectly, the chicken marinated in tomato chutney a close second. I wasn’t particularly taken with the paneer tikka but it wasn’t bad. Prices vary from the grill.
Murgh Makhni (butter chicken tikka masala)
Onto the curries, by this point I was completely full to the brim but it didn’t take me much persuading to keep on going. I tried the hyderabadi lamb biriani, and a selection of three different curries; butter chicken tikka masala (£7.25), urban lamb curry (£7.95), and rustic lamb nihari (9.95). The urban lamb curry was the stand out dish for me with strong flavours of methi (fenugreek) and perfectly cooked lamb, it was finished before I could take a photo unfortunately! The butter chicken tikka masala was the mildest of the bunch, aimed at a tamer audience than myself but tasty all the same.
Rustic Lamb Nihari
The nihari is a traditional dish from Delhi, slow cooked for several hours in this case with lamb shanks. I have only ever come across it in authentic restaurants in Tooting before and they usually only serve it at the weekends because of the amount of preparation time which goes into it, 10 hours of cooking or more. Definitely one to try if you visit Inito.
Hyderabadi Lamb Biryani with naan bread lid
The hyderabadi lamb biriani (£7.65) has to be the most original looking dish on the menu with it’s naan bread pie lid. I saw a waitress whizzing one past earlier in the evening and it quickly became a talking point. Was it a pie? Was it a giant pani puri? It’s a great idea, it keeps the dish hot a while longer and makes it a bit more of a hands on affair. There is a vegetable biriani available too (£6.25).
I left Inito having experienced some real quality food and can’t thank the guys enough for their hospitality. Ever since discovering the likes of aloo papri chaat and dosas I’ve been convinced that somebody needs to be pushing these types of food more in the capital and these guys are doing just that. It’s a fantastic idea, affordably cheap and a refreshing change from the norm of the UK’s Indian restaurants, especially in this area. I really hope it takes off as you haven’t lived until you’ve tried some of these things!
Go check it out for yourself, their website has more info and menus, Init.