Inamo – Futuristic Asian Fusion

I’ve walked past Inamo in Soho quite a few times and thought it just another Asian restaurant.

On closer inspection it happens to be an Asian restaurant with a gadgety twist!

Are you bored with paper-based menus and reading your order to a waiter/waitress? Well, Inamo uses interactive table-tops for everything from selecting your food and drinks, ordering them, and much more.

There’s a decent selection of ‘Pan-Asian Fusion’ food on offer here and one cool point is that you get to see what it will look like in front of you as an image of each menu choice is projected on to your plate as you navigate the options.

I was kind of expecting a swanky ‘Microsoft Surface‘ styled navigation but these tables are a little low-tech in comparison but all credit to Blacksheep, the London architecture and design office, who created these tables. The system uses a projector and computer above each diners head which, combined with the touch pad guided cursor, works pretty well. I’m also guessing that there’ll be less panic should someone drop something heavy onto one of these tables compared to a ‘Surface’ table-top.

The ‘cocoon’ projectors are set at the same height throughout within the suspended high gloss black ceiling and come in three sizes to light 2-cover, 4-cover or 6-cover tables. When customers sit down there are white spots for plates and an individual ‘e-cloth’ for each table. Customers use a touch panel to order food and drink or change their table top to one of the seven other patterns available. ‘Serving staff are available at any time to help customers to navigate their menus or answer any other queries, but the menus have been exceptionally clearly designed and should be both intuitive and fool-proof for users!’ Project Designer Benjamin Webb commented.

As well as helping you choose what to eat and drink, you can also use the menus to change the background, find out which club to go to afterwards and also play games! 2 player battle ships definitely helps pass the small amount of time between the food arriving 🙂 There’s also puzzles and such like to play with. The games combined with altering the table patterns are certainly a fun distraction.

If that’s not enough you can also access the Chef-cam which shows your food being prepared as you watch! The pan-Asian menu was created by head chef Anthony Sousa Tam, previously of Nobu, Ubon and Hakkasan if you’re interested.

Don’t think that all this tech means that you don’t get any human staff though. Food is brought to the table by real staff members who can also be called up via the table should you have any questions or simply need some more serving spoons.

It was noticed that whoever orders something from their table that’s where it’s delivered – it took a while for me and my guests to realise that the tables are, of course, numbered – and the system works!

The atmosphere in the restaurant is laid-back, the same can’t be said for the staff unfortunately. The manager (I think that’s who she was) was great and had that apparent calmness only experience can bring. Her team, however, were a little on the over-eager side when it came to taking bowls away and cleaning the table whilst we were still finishing our drinks.

I can heartedly recommend the Thai curry as that was outstanding but you have to brace yourself for Soho, London prices. Set meals will probably be best at £30 whether meaty or veggie.

Inamo is a great, off-the-wall, dining experience especially for the tech curious. I would recommend Inamo for gadgety-friendly first dates but will warn you all that the lighter-coloured table patterns may act as up-lighters – and everyone must know that these are never exactly flattering 😉

Check out more pics below and the Inamo site here.

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