Inko Nito | Soho Japanese Restaurant
You’re in Soho.
You’re seized by a desperate, all-consuming hunger for the elegant, flavoursome cuisine of Japan.
And incensingly, you’re surrounded by places that promise to do exactly what you’d expect to your food.
Fear not, because Inko Nito – from the founder of Zuma, Roka and Oblix – is a peppy, tradition-eschewing Soho restaurant that promises ‘unconventional robatayaki cuisine.’ Finally.
And before you think ‘woah there, messing with conventional robatayaki cuisine seems pretty daring…’, it is. But thankfully they’ve already test-driven the idea with their LA branch, which opened late last year to acclaim from far and wide – so they know exactly what they’re doing with this spot on Broadwick Street. The result is a kind of swish casual, mostly counter top dining experience. Breezy staff explain that robata grilling involves cooking skewers over charcoal on a wide flat grill. And what a grill. It’s right in the middle of the place and everyone gets a view of the action.
A giant slab of glass showcases the restaurant to passers-by on Broadwick Street. The deco inside looks a little bit like someone took a photo of the House of O-Ren Ishii from Kill Bill using a Danish camera. So the large open plan room is full of natural materials such as light wood and dark stone…except the wood has been slotted together so that it lands at seemingly random angles and heights. It’s a sociable set up where you’ll be bolted on to other diners at bizarre angles. It’s edgy, literally. And fun.
As the name clearly doesn’t suggest, the menu has a great spread along the Japanese/mildly Korean spectrum. Dishes like a delightfully stacked salmon tataki or Portland crab tartare packed in a silver tin will get you off to a strong start. However it’s the fish and meat sections that will make sure you really settle in. Beef cheek with spicy Korean miso and bone marrow with smoked soy and garlic toast will stop you in your tracks. Scallops with shiso, sweet soy and schichimi yoghurt as well as salmon fillet with grapefuit miso are more delicate options. A lone desert called ‘The Sweetest Thing’ which comprises a charred coconout soft serve with soy, pocky and japanese granola will send you rolling out into the night.
You can keep the grilling at bay by digging into the booze on offer, which deftly picks up the Japanese baton. A small selection of Japanese brand beers and sake are the classic alternatives. Sensibly, It’s only the small number of wines that aren’t Japanese. The there are cocktails like Ishigo Negronis and Nori Old Fashioneds made with Suntory whisky.
Which is so much more interesting than drinking it nito.
NOTE: Inko Nito is mainly walk-in only, but there are a few tables you can reserve on their website HERE or by calling o20 3959 2650.
Inko Nito | 55 Broadwick Street, W1F 9QS
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