4 Hereford Road, London, W2 4AA, United Kingdom

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The little restaurant Inaho has been trading for over twenty years. It serves a variety of styles of Japanese food, from sushi to tempura to tonkatsu. This is quite normal in London, but much less so in Japan, where more serious restaurants tend to specialise in a particular style of cooking, such as yakitori or shabu shabu. A place that, for example, only serves eel tends to get quite good at it, whereas offering so many different styles is more challenging for the kicthen. The dining room at Inaho barely seats twenty people, the walls decorated by assorted Japanese prints.

There was a little nibble of grilled salmon, served cold with miso sauce. The salmon had some flavour but was rather dry and hard, fridge cold (10/20). Eel hand roll (£6) was pleasant, the eel nicely prepared, the nori quite crisp and the eel’s cooking juices flavouring the rice (12/20).

Tuna tataki (£10.50) had chopped raw tuna mixed in with pieces of onion, a little green chilli, ginger and little strips of nori roll. This was quite nice, though for me the level of spice could have been bolder (12/20). 

Tonkatsu (breaded, deep fried pork cutlet at £9.50) was served with a simple salad and a savoury, lightly spiced sauce. Unfortunately, although the outside coating was OK, the pork was dried out and a little chewy, and although the salad was all right the tonkatsu itself is obviously the main thing and was simply not good (barely 10/20). The comparison between this version and that at (say) Maisen in Tokyo was not a flattering one.

The bill at lunch came to £32 with just a couple of soft drinks. If you came in the evening and had alcohol then a typical cost per head might be £45 or so. The chef, originally from Nigata prefecture, popped out at the end of the meal and was chatty. Inaho is a decent local restaurant, but would not be somewhere to which I would plan a special excursion. 

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