Inamo bills itself as an “Oriental fusion restaurant and bar where the control of the dining is firmly in your hands”. How so? I hear you ask. Well their menus are projected onto your table surface via a projector in the ceiling above. You make your choices and place your order via the projected menu and then a waiter brings it over when the food is ready. You can change your “tablecloth”, watch the chefs on the kitchen-cam and even order a taxi! Sounds gimmicky and a recipe for disaster, but it is fun and it helps a lot that the food is pretty good too. I’ve been keen to try it since their Soho branch opened a few years ago, but just never got round to it. So when friends who were visiting from South Africa suggested we meet there, I readily agreed.
Food: We ordered a mountain of stuff, mostly cooked because one of the friends isn’t that keen on sushi. I really enjoyed the Berkshire pork neck served with confit of apple, spicy chocolate sauce, red wine reduction and crushed wasabi peas (£14.75) from the larger dishes section of the menu. It sounds like it would be sweet overload, but it was well balanced and the pork melt-in-your-mouth. Another very enjoyable dish was the tomato and avocado salad (£5.75) which was almost too pretty to eat. The dressing was delicious (ginger, chilli and shallots apparently but tasted so much more complex than that!). My least favourite dish was the duck with pancakes (£15.50), a dish that is on most Asian menus and this one was unfortunately dry and quite flavourless, which we mentioned to our waiter.
Ambience: It’s all very Zen-like with bamboo and wooden shutters throughout, but this gives the tables added privacy which is nice. On the last Friday lunch time before Christmas the restaurant was buzzy and had a nice festive atmosphere to it.
Service: Ordering through the interactive system proved pretty plain-sailing and all our food arrived promptly and without any issues. It was a nice touch that our waiter took the charge off for the duck that wasn’t to our liking. The ordering system is great if you’re in a group and have plenty to catch up on because there are very few interruptions. Saying that though, it’s hard to build a rapport with the lovely staff that bring your food to the table as you don’t see very much of them.
Price: We paid £235.18 for 4 people for 12 dishes, 2 bottles of wine and 6 cocktails but we received a 15% discount because one of our party is a relation of the owners.
And finally….Inamo is located just off Piccadilly Circus, so location wise it’s great if you’re doing a bit of shopping in the West End. The tables are a lot of fun and will keep kids entertained for a while. If I were to return I would try more sushi as I didn’t have enough of it to make a fair judgement, but most of the meat dishes we had were very enjoyable indeed.
Until we eat again!