Inito, Liverpool Street
Tucked away between Liverpool St and Brick Lane is this little newbie Indian street food cafe. And what a great find it is! For someone who is a massive fan of Dishoom, I’d say move over Dishoom and make space for Inito! For all of you who want to re-live the taste of Indian ‘dhaabas’/food trucks, without the added noise of rikshas, the feeling of humidity, and unnecessary smells of the street, then come give this place a go. Although it doesn’t compare to the prices of real Indian street food, it’s as close as you’re going to get for London.
We went when it was hardly even a month old, at around 6PM when it was completely empty. But that didn’t bother me at all. There was almost a trendy cafe vibe to it with people with a drink in one hand and their laptop in the other, tapping away.
We started with drinks first, and this is the place where I lost my heart to Limca (YES, I’m a Limca newbie). With it’s fine balance of tang, sweet, and fizz, the first sip just had me. The two drinks were basically the Indian version of Lemonade and Coke (Limca and Thums Up). If it were up to me, these drinks would become viral around London.
I asked the waitress some questions to help me decide what to order, but they didn’t seem to be too clued up about the menu, which is literally the only downfall I can find for this restaurant. I went on to order:
Aloo Papri Chat: this will forever my be favourite Indian starter/street food. Surprisingly, it’s not always common to find it on the menu, so any restaurant that includes it instantly wins my heart. This one, however, had a greater proportion of tamarind, which surprisingly did no harm to the taste buds!
Pani Puri: six mouthfuls of sheer comfort food is the only way I can describe this! With the flavoured water served separately, it gives the diner the option to ladle as much as they wish into their mouthful. The taste of the water wasn’t the traditional tamarind as I know it, but more of a minty, and deep flavour. But, I guess that’s where the ‘fusion’ aspect of this cafe comes into play.
Pau sliders: so pau is basically the indian version of a bun, and I’d been waiting to eat these sliders the whole night. The thought of finally finding halal ‘pulled’ meat in a slider was too exciting for me. I think I built up the excitement a bit too much in my head, and it wasn’t exactly how I imagined. The lamb slider was slightly dry which made it too chewy for my liking, and could have done with a touch more salt. The chicken tikka slider had all the flavours you would expect tikka meat to have, but still a little on the drier side. And lastly, the veg option, by which point I was stuffed. The paneer and mushroom worked well with the slight sweetness of the pau bread.
Side of chunky chips: you canNOT go wrong with chunky chips with added Indian masala, the perfect accompaniment to your pau sliders.
Roti roll: my fellow diner went for this option. But she took control, and ‘built her own’. With various meats and veg fillings to choose from, we opted for the chicken filling. A hearty portion with a choice of sauce is given, wrapped in paper to add the street food feel. As satisfying as it was, dare I say it was a bit on the dry side too? But don’t get me the wrong, the flavours absolutely made up for it. (Nothing a sip of Limca can’t sort out).
Overall, kudos to Saurav Nath for the delivery of this menu. But I definitely need to come back to try the biryani as that is the only real decider between indian restaurants (in my opinion of course!).
Food – 4/5 – although hardly anything to fault, you may have noticed me mentioning the dryness in a lot of the food, hence I knocked off a mark. But, where else are you going to find halal sliders?
Service – 4/5 – I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt because this place was pretty new when I paid a visit, hence the staff weren’t completely in the know-how about the menu/recommendations. But, on the plus, the service was quick, and the manager was sure to ask us of our opinion of the food.
Value – 4.5/5 – great value for what you’re getting compared to similar restaurants of its sort (Dishoom, Roti chai, Indigo). Overall, we paid around £15 (give or take) for starters, mains, and a drink.
Venue – 3.5/5 – in a slightly recluse location without much of a vibe in the area. But by no means is it hard to reach.
SAS – 4/5 – although Indian street food is a common concept, Inito strikes the balance between pricing, flavour, trendy vibe, and comfort food. Not to mention the quirky pictures and signs it has hanging around the venue.
This restaurant serves halal meat but serves alcohol.
Review by Azzizi
Address: 31 Bell Lane, Whitechapel, E1 7LA
Telephone: 020 7247 7145