It has been confirmed that Rainer Becker — co-founder of Zuma Restaurants, a group which includes Zuma, Roka and Oblix — will launch a new modern Japanese grill restaurant on Broadwick Street in Soho at the beginning of May. It follows the brand’s debut in LA’s Arts District at the end of the last year. Reports of the London branch first surfaced in mid-November. The company says it will serve “unconventional robatayaki [barbecue] Japanese fare.”
The LA outpost of the restaurant takes its place on the current Eater LA heatmap. About it, editor Matt Kang writes: “This sleek Japanese robatayaki in Arts District is a sign that the formerly scrapper neighbourhood has fully grown up. Owned by the folks behind Zuma, a high-end [restaurant that] brings much of the same upscale Japanese fare one might expect at Nobu or Catch but with a bit more emphasis on the charcoal grill.”
Like in LA, the menu has been developed by Becker’s group executive chef Hamish Brown. A statement released today says “Inko Nito promises a dynamic menu of bold sharing dishes starting priced from £11, served with an unconventional Japanese twist.”
About his latest London opening, Becker said: “Inko Nito is an evolution of what was the original concept for ROKA. We’ve gone ‘back to basics’ to create a local, accessible destination for London diners. Combining bold and adventurous flavours in a relaxed yet high-energy environment, our ambition is to become a must-visit destination, within Soho’s unprecedented dining scene.”
Dishes cooked on the robata grill will include beef cheek, with spicy Korean miso and picked daikon with butter lettuce; bone marrow, smoked soy, garlic toast and shallot.
“Lighter dishes” such as the Dungeness crab tartare with wasabi mayo, chicken skin and roasted nori, will join “a new style of sushi,” served with roasted nori, sushi rice and a choice of toppings. The chirashi, for example, will comprise salmon, yellowtail and wasabi shiso; The Cali is a combination of crab, avocado, wasabi tobiko and yuzu mayo.
“Twists” have been applied to the cocktail menu, too: On tap, the mode of cocktail service du jour, drinks will start £9. Clearly aware of the trend for Italian aperitivo-style concoctions, the bar will serve both an Inko Spritz, a mix of watermelon, Aperol, yuzu and sparkling wine. It will be joined by the Nori Old Fashioned (and no doubt a version of a Negroni.) No Soho opening in 2018 would be complete without the appearance of some variation on that trio.
It has been confirmed to Eater that the 90-cover restaurant will open in the first week of May.