You might expect a Japanese robata-themed venue from the team behind Zuma and Roka to exude an air of starchy exclusivity, but “light and airy” Inko Nito tells a different story: the dress code is relaxed, the young staff are chatty and friendly, and there are even high chairs to seat toddlers with a taste for edamame.
The setting is a stylish, post-industrial dining room with plenty of shiny wood and slate, plus a smattering of standalone tables – although the main action is centred around the aforementioned robata grill and its wraparound dining counter. Due to the snazzy design, there is thankfully (and unusually) adequate space between diners.
Impressive picks from the line-up of small plates range from slinky salmon teriyaki dressed in a lightly spicy wasabi ponzu with butter-soaked lettuce to moreish fried shrimps served with a tongue-tingling Korean miso. The more substantial grill dishes include lusciously fatty cubes of pork belly finished with a boozy Japanese whisky glaze, and strips of crispy panko-fried chicken dipped in a thick chilli and yoghurt sauce.
Service is “attentive without being fussy”, and there’s a decent selection of saké, wine and cocktails on the drinks list; we also like the post-prandial fortune cookies that conceal cheeky messages. With its slick look and neat collection of popular dishes, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a major roll-out of Inko Nito (the brand also has an outlet in LA).