Exciting and exotic meats at his Rye restaurant The Ambrette and even an AA Rosette at his Margate site. How happy can Chef-patron Dev Biswal be? He talks to Tandoori.
Front of House
Apr 2015 - by
Restaurants concepts, regardless of cuisine type, come and go on a regular basis. There are a myriad of reasons why some businesses work and some don’t though suffice to say, you get the food and service wrong and your restaurant won’t be around for very long.
Literally in the past few years alone, the buzz word for new Indian restaurants appears to be “street food”. It’s easily replicated, relatively fast to make – or even eat – and is generally light and even affordable for the mass market. But has anyone genuinely been able to pull off it successfully? Without revealing any names, restaurants that have just about pulled it off with aplomb can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
Whether the new kid on the block Inito – the name is an amalgam of “roti” and “burrito” say the owners – in London’s trendy Shoreditch enclave, hits the bullseye or not in bringing Indian street food to the fore is debatable. It certainly takes a good stab at it and the quality of cooking is highly accomplished thanks to the man heading up the kitchens, chef Suarav Nath, whose CV includes the Michelin-starred Gymkhana.
“The concept we wanted to bring to the market,” says Behrooz Khossousi, who, along with co-owner Bruce Kamp is behind Inito, “was one where we could create a well-known Indian brand on the high street. With Khossousi and Kamp having a background in such food chain names as Nandos and the salad and soup bar Vital Ingredient, the former adds: “It wasn’t that we were going to compete with anyone, more so that we have an Indian brand that will eventually become a familiar name.”
What you get on the menu are roti rolls, salad bowl, a handful of biryani and curry dishes along with “sides” such as chicken wings, samosas and a couple of other items. Come the evening and the weekend though, the menu takes on a distinctly more substantial feel with tandoori items added on as well more curry items, sharing plates and last but not least, fortnightly changing specials.
The location chosen for their first site may be a tad off the beaten track, tucked away on a side street as it is, but it’s also a mere stone’s throw away from such hubs of East End dynamism and popularity as Spitalfields Market, Brick Lane, Petticoat Lane and Liverpool Street station.
“What struck us most about moving to the site,” says an enthusiastic Khossousi, “is that right above us in the building are residencies for about 1200 students, of which 20 per cent are Indian. If that isn’t a good stroke of luck, I don’t what is!”
Sure enough, there are a daily and steady number of students who dive in to eat at Inito, in addition to the local office workers and an increasing number of people who have heard about the restaurant.
“It’s still early days for us,” says Khossousi. “I’m still trying to work out framework of the menu with Nath as to how it will ultimately look in terms of the dishes we chose to have on it and what we want to remove. We’re getting closer and closer to defining that with the final goal being that we are accessible to the mass public and lovers of good but affordable food.”
Paneer and mushroom roti
Old Delhi chicken tikka
Urban lamb curry
Hyderabadi lamb biryani
Inito sticky wings
Aloo papri chaat