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Inamo Restaurant

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by Craig Johnson (subscribe)
Sardonic culture junkie living in London.
Published June 7th 2011
In awe of Inamo.

Located on Soho's Wardour Street is Inamo, a restaurant like no other.

Inamo - Wardour Street

For those who don't know - Inamo is a "pioneering Oriental fusion restaurant and bar where the control of the dining experience is placed firmly in your hands."

Firstly, let me explain the concept. Inamo is a very modern way to dine; there are no waiters for a start, obviously there are members of staff on hand to help you find your table and explain how the place works, but they won't be back with menus and traditional table service.

Instead Inamo offers a unique experience unlike any restaurant I've eaten at before. The gimmick here is the tables themselves, or rather E-table.

The E-table allows diners to peruse the menu via an inbuilt track pad and order their food and drink themselves from an illustrated menu which is projected in glorious HD onto the table from an overhead projector. It's a bit like ordering things online - you select the dishes and add them to your "basket," then when you're happy, the order is confirmed and sent straight to the kitchen, the food is then brought out to you when ready.

Table's with a difference.

The E-table experience does not stop there though. Customers can change the ambience of the table to a number of preset images and patterns, play games such as Pairs or Battleships, get ideas for things to do locally once you've eaten, and check for the nearest tube or order a taxi. There's even a "Chef cam" for the more voyeuristic amongst you that shows a live feed of the kitchen staff beavering away.

The menu is excellent too and modestly priced. As mentioned, it's an Oriental Fusion, mixing dishes from Japanese, Chinese, and Thai cuisine. Everything is imaginatively combined, beautifully presented, and most importantly of all, delicious. It would have been easy for the menu to take a backseat to the restaurant itself with its chic modernistic feel, but thankfully you'll be talking about the food as much as you will the furniture – assuming you can stop playing with the table long enough to engage in conversation.

Demand for a table can be high so booking is advisable, particularly from 7pm onwards. Due to the popularity tables are often limited to a ninety minute window (although their sister site on Regent Street offers two hours), so don't be offended if a member of staff suggests relocating downstairs to their comfortable bar for your dessert or after dinner drinks. We were very politely informed with good warning when I visited, and had no qualms with moving on.

Enjoy a cocktail in the downstairs bar.

Inamo oozes cool; it's fun, trendy, and genuinely unique without being pretentious. It's a great place for early daters, long term couples, families, or groups of friends. Given the combination of the technology involved and the high standard of the food, you would expect to be charged a premium, but this is not the case at all and I was actually quite surprised at how reasonable the final bill was. I honestly could not recommend Inamo enough, the staff are friendly and the food was divine. Head down to Soho and see what your finger orders.
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Why? If there was an
When: Open Daily
Where: London, Soho
Cost: £20-40 per meal
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