Inamo was my attempt at trying to choose somewhere novel, different and a little more cost effective. It kind of worked although when you are used to fine dining, which Inamo doesn’t pretend to be, scoring it against Michelin starred alternatives can seem a little harsh.
Meeting again first at ‘The Thomas Cubitt’, near Victoria, which is fast becoming our favourite starting point, we arrived in a variety of attire from super smart, smart cas to the cool beach look! Yes the ‘casual’ dress code tonight threw us but was a welcome change on a scorching Summer’s evening.
There are currently two Inamos in town, Soho and Covent Garden, with their interactive dining experience, table games and fusion of Asian food all sounding pretty appealing. Ours was down a side alley in Covent Covent and at first glance looked very smart. Inside it took about 5 minutes to explain that we wanted to push our table back half an hour so we can have drinks at the bar. Basically the bar was downstairs with no one currently attending to it but after some debate we won and got what we wanted. Again very smart, with a really top, funny guy serving us we had a variety of cocktails all of which were pretty good and we’d have happily stayed for more. My highlight was, being an original Slush Puppy connoisseur, the frozen slushed Japanese Kirin beer.
With the bar empty aside from us the bartender showed us the interactive tables in their full glory! Ok maybe not exceptionally exciting and certainly not a Pokemon in sight, we were amused by the multiplayer ping pong, memory games, chef cam and sketching. More aimed at the family market rather than 5 guys looking for fine dining experiences I’d suggest. Novel, a bit weird but worth a go all the same.
Taken to our table upstairs the arguing over ‘how to order’ began! Even ‘who should hold the iPad!’ Everything was to be processed through this iPad and it led to some confusion. Another proceeded to select his entire meal on the iPad…. Which was quickly deleted once he realised that his entire selection would all come at once. Trying again and opting for a pick and mix starter round, we cursed when we remembered ‘let’s order some damn drinks first’…. However attracting a waitress to order the drinks proved a little more successful.
With order restored to the chaos we decided on starters, followed by duck and pancakes, then another pick and mix main course.
We began with a Sushi Slate, Prawn Tempura, Chicken Satays, Mango Pork Belly, Korean Chicken Wings, Spicy Aubergine and the Yakatori. Unfortunately the baby ribs weren’t available.
I think our favourites were various selections from the Yakatori…..
And the Sushi slate…..
All very good, quickly devoured and a surprisingly high score was discussed already!
Next up, despite some still being confused by the ordering tactics, were 3 portions of the Duck with Pancakes. Each portion being a typical 1/4 duck, it was also very tasty, not as crispy as we are normally used to but still swiftly eaten. A couple more portions would have been great!
Having partially given up with the iPad for drinks we were however a little disappointed by the wine list. Again we are maybe spoilt with our previous BTNDC destinations but still being in London you’d like a wider choice, especially some Asian ones? To be fair perhaps we should have manned up and chosen Sake.
Main course followed which was again a little chaotic for all! Not just us on a small table but the staff too, even though by now we were the only table remaining. I had asked twice for a coke that never came…
The free for all was sharing; a Pork Chop with Yakiniku Sauce, two or three helpings of Bavette Steak, a couple of Hot Stone Fillet Steaks (with the stones cooling far too quickly), The Black Cod, Singapore Noodles, Spicy Edamame Beans and some Kimchi, not forgetting two portions of Scallops for BC.
All of which was extremely tasty and worth going back for, and why I’m disappointed with the overall score it received from my fellow peers! Certainly the Pork Chop got rave reviews from all parties at least!
The interactive tables were fun for all of 5 minutes but to be fair I can imagine them keeping the kids entertained and quiet for the entire duration. Using wireless tracking mini mice – just make sure plates and cutlery are cleared first! Ping Pong had two settings… Easy straight to impossible. Memory games were ok, chef cam was again ‘ok’ unless you are prepared to stare at it for an hour praying for a mistake in the kitchen!, and the puzzle race seemed to have no winner despite DC finishing first?
Unfortunately in the now empty restaurant the service continued to be poor but we managed to persuade them to find us the desert that nearly everyone was looking forward too…. The Chocolate Popping Candy Dipping Sticks with strawberries, brownies and marshmallows. Very sweet and tasty and another winner in the clearly family orientated restaurant.
When comparing Inamo to fine dining in Michelin starred establishments….. Well you just can’t and it’s unfair to really!… So when deciding on where to go and you fancy somewhere unique, alternative, family designed with great food, and a new experience, then definitely give Inamo a shot. Just don’t break the iPad!
020 7484 0500