Do you find waiters a little pesky? Do you wish you could see a life-size version of your meal before you order it? And are you perhaps someone who likes the idea of playing a quick game of Battleships in between courses?
These may seem like odd questions to ask but if you found yourself nodding at the screen then Inamo could be your restaurant of dreams!
Located in trendy Soho, Asian-Fusion restaurant Inamo boasts a unique interactive dining experience where traditional waiters are replaced by a computer-generated ordering system projected on to your table. Simply use a touchpad mouse to scan the menu options and click on a dish to have an image of it projected on to your plate. The vegetarian options all have a big ‘V’ above them, which is most handy. Add items to your digital order, then click to send said order directly to the kitchen.
If your dinner date is a little on the dull side, don’t fret – from watching the chefs on the live kitchen cam, to switching your ‘tablecloth’ images, to playing an array of games, there’s plenty to keep you entertained while you wait for your food to arrive.
Dishes are listed on the menu as “Smaller Dishes”, “Larger Dishes”, “Sides” and “Desserts”; we went for one small, one large and one side dish each. The items arrive as they’ve been prepared, which is good as everything is as fresh as can be but at the same time, it can make for quite a disjointed meal with one person’s dish arriving long before another’s or sides arriving long before mains. If you’re sharing the dishes as a table this isn’t so much an issue but it could get tricky with large groups ordering separately.
As soon as the first dish arrived, I was impressed by the presentation at Inamo – it’s clear they want your experience to be pleasing to the eye as well as the palate!
I started with the Vegetable Uramaki, which was cucumber and avocado sushi served with wasabi and pickled ginger. The sushi was fresh and tasty and the wasabi was satifyingly, ridiculously hot – I got through about one tenth of my little serving! Matt went for the Tomato & Avocado Salad, which was served with a chilli and ginger sauce. It looked absolutely gorgeous (how do they slice the avocado like that?!) and was a really nice, light dish.
Next up, we both had hot dishes. I went for the Spicy Aubergine, which was spicy but sweet and cooked to perfection. The only drawback was that it was a ‘side’ not served on the side of anything but it was nice to pick at until the mains arrived! Matt chose the Crispy Silky Tofu served with shiitake mushrooms. I’m not normally a fan of silken tofu but this was really, really good. It was served in a sweet sauce and almost melted in your mouth. However, with just four bite-sized pieces of tofu and a few slivers of mushroom, we felt that £6.25 was a bit steep.
I can’t go past a Thai curry when I see one, so for my main I got the vegetarian Thai Red Curry. It was a creamy curry loaded with butternut squash and mixed vegetables. The cherry tomatoes were an interesting addition and although I enjoyed the curry, it didn’t blow me away. Matt was slightly disappointed by his choice – Mushroom Toban Yaki, which was a dish of mixed mushrooms with a sake, soy and garlic sauce. It was okay and had a nice mix of unusual mushrooms but the sauce was a bit bland. At £12.85 and £14.50 respectively, our mains were quite pricey for what they were.
The other thing I didn’t love about the restaurant was the closeness of tables. Though not exactly like a communal eating restaurant with big, long tables and benches, our table was in a row of three pushed right together. Not to be completley antisocial but I just feel uncomfortable and slightly claustrophobic in these situations. I can’t imagine being on a first date there!
Our bill came to around £35 each and that was with a glass of (house) wine, not even a bottle! Although we did enjoy most of the food, for that price, servings could have been slightly larger and I would love all the food to blow me away! On top of this, a 10% service charge is added. The staff may have been friendly enough but I’m not sure how they can justify the service charge when ‘service’ simply involves distributing and clearing plates…
The ordering system and interactive dining tables are a novelty and I’m glad we got to experience it once but as I feel the food is quite overpriced, I’ll probably leave it at that.
134-136 Wardour St, Soho, W1F 8Z