We haven’t been able to get to Greece yet this year but we’ve found the next best thing in INO, the new restaurant from the founders of OPSO in Marylebone. INO is all about live-fire cooking, celebrating the Greek tradition of cooking over charcoal, so there’s a large grill in the open kitchen running down the length of the front of the restaurant, complete with counter stools to watch the action from. These are the best seats in the house (there are some tables down the back) in terms of atmosphere but you will have to sacrifice some comfort as it’s a tight squeeze.
It’s a small plates menu, and they are small so you can get through a fair bit of them – highlights for us included the tarams, made extra luxurious with a slow-cooked egg yolk and bottarga, with a handmade pitta for dipping action; the okra with tomato and feta; the octopus taco, tender meat on a super-thin disc of pitta bread; the beef seftalies, a richer version of the traditional Cypriot minced pork kebabs; the souvlaki, another traditional kebab given an upgrade with Iberico presa; and the Greek salad, topped here with barrel-aged feta that tastes worlds away from what you get in the supermarket.
With such a strong savoury selection, INO is light on the desserts but the Red Box is the perfect way to finish. The little trays within the box contain a selection of sweets, including a baklava pastry crisp, sesame seed pastelli, salted caramels and chocolate truffles, giving you the exact sugar hit you need without tipping you over the edge.
The wine list is all Greek, changing regularly to feature new and exciting producers, so definitely ask for a reccy – we got pointed to the Douloufakis Aspros Lagos Vidiano and it went down a treat. The wines are all available by the glass if you want to work through the list and there’s also draft beers and barrel-aged cocktails available for the non-vino drinkers.
With loud music and lots of chatter with the chefs over the counter INO is a buzzy little spot, and it may not have the Greek sunshine but the holiday vibes are definitely there.
4 Newburgh Street, London, W1F 7RF