INÉ inducts you into the delicate art of Japanese cuisine from the moment you step into the clean-lined interior decorated in restful, natural hues.

The first of two 'omikase' sittings is in full swing, with diners seated around the counter enjoying 17 courses. There's concentration, professionalism, but not a whiff of the sweaty cursing of a Boiling Point-style establishment.

Ushered to our booth in the narrow restaurant, we were met with folded menus fastened with a bamboo stick. This is the Hampstead outpost of Mayfair one Michelin star omakase Taku - and by some way the highest end Japanese restaurant I have encountered.

Islington Gazette: The interior has clean lines, natural wood, and neutral colours The interior has clean lines, natural wood, and neutral colours (Image: INÉ)

Dishes aren't listed with descriptions, so we turned to the discreetly helpful staff for a steer on how much to order.

This may be teaching sushi-lovers to suck eggs, but it is not a carb or fat heavy cuisine. It's clean, light, delicate, you will feel sated but not stuffed, and your tastebuds will be thoroughly invigorated.

Even the excellent Marlborough Sauvignon blanc served in modest 125ml measures perfectly fitted INÉ's less-is-more approach. I would just say, glancing at my 6ft 3 teen as we left, that perhaps we should have ordered one more substantial dish for him, but then like an expectant mother, he eats for two.

INE serves contemporary Japanese cuisine and head chef Andrew Lim playfully melds other flavours and textures on the a la carte menu. A hamachi carpaccio came beautifully dressed with flowers and wafer-thin pickled veg, soused in a gorgeous coriander sauce that we lapped up with a wooden spoon.

A trio of sashimi were the freshest curls of fish; tuna, sea bass and salmon simply dipped in soy sauce with a smear of wasabi. Nigiri of delicious bluefin otoro - the fattiest cut of tuna - was seared and served on a tiny mound of rice. We should have ordered two.

Islington Gazette: Everything at INÉ is beatufully presented including the menuEverything at INÉ is beatufully presented including the menu (Image: INÉ)

Crowdpleasing crumbed and crisped chicken pieces came with that same coriander dip, and a thin, pink finger of perfectly grilled salmon came with a sweet (not gloopy) dressing, finely diced Mediterranean vegetables, and mash.

By now the Tuesday night tables were full, with the second omakase sitting arriving. Meaning 'I'll leave it to the chef' it's an adventure that INÉ's chef Law Kwok Meng brings his full 23 years as a sushi chef to.

It's also fun to watch, as we enjoyed two lovely desserts, ice-cream and sweet bean paste sandwiched between tiny square wafers, and a knockout vanilla panna cotta with slivers of vanilla poached pear and a superb pear sorbet.

Islington Gazette: If you want to say 'I love you' order the Valentine's Bento Box at £130 for twoIf you want to say 'I love you' order the Valentine's Bento Box at £130 for two (Image: INÉ)

If you want to say I love you for Valentine's Day then you can order a Prestige Bento Box which wraps up all of INÉ's greatest hits into one beautifully presented box.

From fresh premium sushi to INÉ’s signature matcha Terrine dessert, it's a meal for two for £130, and includes trout maki wrapped in rice and seaweed, sea bream and cucumber maki, marinated salmon miso, grilled chicken or fish, eight pieces of nigiri including that fabulous Otoro, a Tamagoyaki or Japanese rolled omelette and homemade pickled veg.

INÉ is at 16 Hampstead High Street, bookings at