Inito – Indian Street Food:
I have a tendency to get lost in parts of London I don’t know so well. The area around Liverpool Street falls firmly into that category. Walk for a few minutes and you’ll find yourself in the heart of London’s fabric markets, an area which at night is desolate, strewn with detritus from the market stalls and deserted by all but a few East London stalwarts. It’s worth making the trip though, to Inito, a quirky Indian street food cafe where I’d arranged to meet a group of food bloggers a few Saturdays ago.
Inito looks a bit like the cafe part of Roti Chai – big sharing tables, a fun bar area and funky artwork on the walls. It’s priced to attract a lunch-time office crowd as well as people wanting to eat their fill and spend the evening relaxing. And, it’s a great place for a group of eight or so to meet up.
I am not a great lover of lassi or of fruit smoothies, so while my companions sipped healthy glasses of goodness, I drank red wine. It turned up we all needed fortification given the amount of food served. You know those meals where what you eat thinking you are enjoying everything that will be served. And that turn out to be just the starters…
Dosas, chicken wing lollipops, pani puri, alloo papri chaat and bhel puri. All delicious and bursting with flavour. And some rather substantial roti filled with lamb, chicken and paneer.
Down the other end of the table, pav sliders arrived for the vegetarians, while we enjoyed lamb cutlets, spiced fish and tandoori chicken with a variety of home made chutneys.
Steaming bowls of dahl were served along with more curries of lamb and chicken
And a splendid pair of biriyanis. Traditionally cooked biriyani is one of those miraculous Indian dishes. The spice marinaded meat, vegetables and rice are put into the cooking pot in careful layers, uncooked or just par boiled. The result is then sealed with a pastry lid and slow cooked.
Chef Saurav Nath has worked in Michelin star restaurants including Benares and Gymkhana and is the mastermind behind a menu well beyond my expectations. I don’t think any of us could find any fault in the food we were served. Biriyani is always something of a spectacular dish – cut away the pastry topping to reveal a fragrant soft fluffy rice mixture, it was great to see the delight on Chef’s face as he showcased his dish to us.
Desserts were served, though I seem to remember doing little more than taking a mouthful of sweet Gulab Jamun and a taste of rose kulfi. There were more options – most notably a stunning Garam masala chocolate fondant with Horlicks ice cream .
As others have already said – we all ate FAR too much. I want to go back, having starved myself for the day and just enjoy three or four dishes. And, I’m sure I will do.
With many thanks to Nayna from Simply Sensational Foods for her invitation to join the evening and review Inito.
31 Bell Lane
Tel: 0207 2477145