A while ago I was invited to restaurant in London called INITO (“Feed Your Soul”) with a group of foodie friends and fellow bloggers. I was yet to discover when entering the restaurant that I’m going to travel a thousands miles away to experience explosion of flavours of Indian street food.
I fell in love with Indian cuisine almost instantly – 5 years ago! I was looking for comforting dishes when I moved to UK. I wanted something different than Polish cuisine but at the same time as comforting and this is what Indian food has given me! There is no better remedy for cold than a good, spicy curry (and bowl of “rosół” Polish chicken soup).
Combination of raw metal pipes with wooden walls and metal signs and open plan kitchen give this place a great industrial look. Long tables and comfortable seats with colorful cushions invite you to have a seat ideally with a group of friends or family (can’t see a better way to spend time than with good company and delicious food!).
Isn’t that a great looking place? Ok, I can’t keep you in waiting for so long. I’m sure you’re all dying to see what they have on offer and Oh! believe me when I say – they have plenty!
We were suppose to sample three course meal so I thought it’s going to be a starter followed by main meal and dessert, it turned out I was wrong. We have spend there almost 4 hours just EATING! Despite our protests friendly staff showered us with a range of tasty dishes cooked by award winning chef Saurav Nath who has worked in a Michelin Star restaurants.
First came sweet mango Lassi for myself and salted Lassi for other along with crunchy Lollipop Chicken Wings marinated in Inito’s secret spice blend which was very flavoursome and vegetarian option – Aloo Tikki Chaat – spicy potato cake with tamarind chutney, green coriander chutney, sweet yogurt chutney and nylon sev, served with crispy dosa – something I have never tried before but now I can eat every day! Dosa was super delicious and thanks to my lovely friends who are familiar with all the dishes having Indian heritage I was explained in details how to make this little crispy gem at home!
After this we’re served little crispy bowls filled with mixture of potato, chickpeas with lentils and tangy mint water flavoured with cumin on the side – this was called Pani Puri. What a fun to eat! Basically you fill up this little bowls with mint water then pop into your mouth! Next was Chaat which means a snack served often on the streets of India. Aloo Papri Chaat – tangy potato with chickpeas, yogurt and tamarind chutney, garnished with nylon sev. I was curious what sev means? As it turned out SEV is a crunchy noodles made from chickpea floured paste, seasoned with turmeric, cayenne and Ajwani then deep fried and it is very popular on Indian streets (Wikipedia). After all this I was so full I could easily stop my adventure but chef Saurat Nath insisted on more so he offered us Bhel Puri another famous street food made out of bombay mix with puffed rice, masala peanuts, drizzled with tamarind chutney and nylon sev.
Indian feast was yet to end when more dishes begin to arrive. We were treated with a wide choice of roti – something between naan and burrito filled with either chicken, lamb, prawns or paneer with kidney beans and spinach leafs served with black bean chutney. I couldn’t imagine eating anything more BUT there was more to come! Next was Paneer Tikka – scrummy paneer cheese marinated in spices and yellow chilli with Pav Bhaji – amazing freshly baked bun served with veggie ragout and thinly sliced onion salad. YUM! Non vegetarians enjoyed Pav Sliders a platter of succulent tandoori meat and fish, both marinated in fragrant spices, served with salad and herb chutney.
And when you think this is it Chef Saurav insisted on us trying more! I’ve never experienced such a hospitality – great food and brilliant staff with friendly atmosphere make this place worth visiting! Moving on to our next meal, choice of two vegetarian dishes Baighan Aur Mirch Ka Salan – aubergine and jalapeno saute in peanut and onion sauce and Palak Paneer – spinach and indian cottage cheese saute with fragrant cumin and garlic. A little spicy but still delightful. All this followed by non vegetarian choice of Murgh Makhni – tender chicken tikka masala and Urban Lamb Curry – cubed lamb marinated in blend of spices.
When Chef Saurav emerged from the kitchen with two bowls covered with dough I had no room left for more food but the when he began to cut it I couldn’t resist to try and rightly so! It was one of my favourite Indian dishes – Biryani! I even tried to recreate it at home but no quite successfully I have to say.
As we were ready to go home staff brought us F-O-U-R desserts! Soft cheese balls in sweet milk sauce called Auguri Rasmalai, my favourite Gulab Jamon sweet balls soaked in sugary syrup then Rose and Cardamon Kulfi and finally king of all desserts – Garam Masala Chocolate Fondant with Horlicks Ice Cream (I was dreaming about them few nights afterwards, does it sound like I have horlicks ice cream withdraw?)
It was a great night and I won’t lie if I say I was stuffed with awesome food! I could not wish for a better Indian experience than this!
So I would like to thank Inito for inviting us! I’m definitely going to be back there with my friends and family as soon as I’m in London.
If you would like to visit INITO here is how to find them:
31 Bell Lane
Tel: 0207 2477145
Disclosure: I was invited for a meal to Inito but as always all opinions are entirely my own.