Guacamole with seasoned plantain chips… topped with pretty saffron threads. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

These are Brussels sprouts that would be worshipped by even those who have an aversion to this (often underestimated) veggie,” says dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON.

INKA’s fitout explodes with colour and the food explodes with flavour.

Wendy Johnson.

Canberra’s hottest new dining spot at 148 Bunda Street, Civic, Inka celebrates the strong relationship between Japan and Peru that stretches back as far as the 1800s.

But how does this unique relationship translate into food fusion? Very well indeed.

An entire article could be written on Inka’s expensive and unique décor, but we’re going to focus on the menu of local Canberra boy, Michael Muir, who has travelled the world working in some of the most amazing restaurants. As Inka’s executive chef, Michael brings the skills and inspiration he’s gleaned from working in Michelin restaurants, including the acclaimed Zuma (London and Istanbul), to Canberra. And we’re glad he’s here.

We started lunch with the guacamole (topped with pretty saffron threads) which offered up an intriguing earthy flavour ($18). We loved the crunchy plantain chips, perfectly seasoned.

Nikkei ceviche with tuna… sensational and so fresh. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

Give the ceviche a go. Out of the three on the menu we selected the Nikkei ceviche with tuna ($28). We gave it a good stir to move the Peruvian flavours at the bottom through the dish. The tuna, cut into chunky cubes, was sensational and so fresh. The cucumber, sesame and finger lime added brightness to the dish. We fell in love.

Chicken empanada… the Peruvian spices hit the spot and the pastry was divine. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

Inka’s empanadas look stunning on the plate. They’re perched in little holders (two pieces with each serve). The chicken with onion and Peruvian spices hit the spot ($14) and the pastry was divine.

Prawn yuzu… served with garlic butter, the flavours were out of this world. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

Another exceptional dish featured charcoal-grilled yuzu prawns. The plump prawns were served with garlic butter and once more, the flavours were out of this world. 

Brussels sprouts… amazing. Packed with flavour and not at all overcooked. Photo: Wendy Johnson.

When ordering, we thought we’d selected the right number of dishes but took the sound advice of the wait staff who recommended one more option to round out our meal. He highly recommended the Brussels sprouts, confidently telling us they were amazing. He was correct. Packed with flavour and not at all overcooked, these are Brussels sprouts that would be worshipped by even those who have an aversion to this (often underestimated) veggie.

We didn’t have it in us to keep travelling through the menu for mains or dessert, but shall return to do just that.

Inka is still working out a few issues. We were almost pounced on when we first sat down and asked what drinks we’d like to order before we had even opened the menu. And with only two of us dining, it would have been better for the share plates to be paced a bit more evenly so we could have enjoyed the hot items hot. 

Inka is sure to become a destination restaurant for Canberrans and visitors alike. Its reputation has already spread far and wide, and with good reason. 

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Ian Meikle, editor