Inamo Restaurant


Saturday, 10 January, 2009

Content A while ago, my girlfriend and I resigned ourselves to having to book a table, rather than walk-in at the popular Inamo restaurant in Soho - on a week night. Touting all new interactive (but fully booked) tables including a chef cam and ordering system, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

Inamo 1

The restaurant

"Inamo is a pioneering Oriental fusion restaurant and bar where the control of the dining experience is placed firmly in your hands."

When we were seated, I wasn't too sure about the slightly luminescent interiors which resulted from the table projections that form the interfaces. It just made me feel like I was in an early nineties fairground room attraction, but without the dramatic decor and excitement.

Interactive Tables

However, its all about the tables. Forget the glare that eminates from around fifty projections, they can be customised to show the pattern of your choice.

And that's the start. Once the service staff give a brief intro, its off we went with our fingers in a table depression (which initially appeared to be a cup holder!) which was touch sensitive, allowing us to move a cursor around to explore the interface.

Inamo 2

Ordering Food

We were advised to order two starters and a main course each, and the great thing is that each diner has their own menu interface on the right hand side of their place. We could order when we wish, either a dish at a time or all together, and the chosen items are brought to the table five to ten minutes later.

We ordered drinks first then our starters, and then mains about ten minutes of when we felt like eating them. Whilst we waited, we checked out the other features on the table, wondering if the chef cam was hi-def enough to see our dishes being prepared (they weren't, unsurprisingly).

Inamo 3

The interface

We didn't play battleships, although we could, and we were able to see the breakdown of items ordered so far and the incremental cost of each person's choices. The grand total was the only figure I needed since the dinner was my treat.

When navigating the interface, your cursor is restricted to a small part of the table, but you can change the look of the whole table by choosing different "desktop" images.

Cleverly, a plate-sized, white circle is left clear in front of the diner, which serves two functions.

When you're clicking through the food menu, you can rollover items and the white circle displays a large photo of the dish - as close as you get to experiencing it without actually eating it.

The second function becomes apparent when your food actually arrives. The last thing you want is a projected texture over your marinated quail (although a forest theme might actually work). The white circle allows a cool beam of light to illuminate your dishe.

Would you go?

At just over £70 for the two of us (without wine), Inamo isn't the sort of place I'd go regularly (price-wise), especially if I just want to eat. The food is good, but it's moreover a great place to try out for a special occasion.


Living in London.

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