We were very excited about going to the new Inamo, when I told to my daughter about the art tablet-based ordering systems and interactive animated table-top projections she couldn't wait to go to Covent Garden and try it, she was pushing for it all week long.
This hidden restaurant is spread over 3 floors, providing plenty of space for family, groups, and larger Corporate meals as well. Has a sumptuous décor with glowing onyx panels, clusters of bamboo, and a stunning lighting system, most of them subtly adjusts to match the interactive table projections. Some tables were even able to project dishes on the plates, it was nice to see this virtual menu presentation while we walked into the place.
Overhead projectors offer a few different options, a "Chef's cam" that shows the pass area more than the big deal fire meal preparation thing, then you could play sort of "Pong - 80's Atari Arcade" game while you await your order, and the most attractive thing, redesigning your table top with nice virtual Japanese tablecloths collection. I cannot say that this technology surprise me at all, I better say that I took me back right into the 80's, like Back to the Future movie, it was fun, my 8 years old daughter loved it.
The team was very attentive and looked after us every single minute, there were very nice and kindly continuos asked us if everything was ok. They explained Inamo's concept and how to order through the tablet, It did not satisfied my expectation, I thought that I could order direct from the interactive table, they said it was better this way, I do not know if something wrong happened with the system, but the thing is we ordered from the tablets, which is nice, you scroll up and down through the menu, choose whatever you would like to order, and once you finish it, must click where is says "Send Order", and wait for the acceptance from the waiter/tress, they will double check it with you and that's it, Otherwise I believe it would be a totally caos. So after we placed the order, we asked them to bring the food as it comes, for me is the best way to enjoy a Japanese meal, I love Kaiseki and Izakaya styles, and they told us, this is our way to serve, I couldn't be more excited.
They brought the salty edamame like always, I cannot start a meal without them, then, some nice and oishii (delicious in Japanese) ebi kushiyaki or grill prawns, I was expecting to enjoyed this Nihon tapa with the amazing frozen Kirin Ichiban, unfortunately the foam was more like CO2 crushed ice than a real cream, except for that important little detail the beer was nice and cold. When I ordered the gyoza I asked if they were home made, otherwise I wouldn't eat it, the next dish was exactly that, seafood gyoza, I must tell you, the filling taste was amazing, not the gyoza no kawa (dumpling wrapper), it tasted and felt like if it spent too much time inside the fridge or were frozen without cover them, they were totally hard dried.
When they placed the "7 mouth-watering slices of crispy pork belly, glazed in Korean BBQ sauce, served with tropical mango and fresh daikon" on the table, I literally said "Sugoi" (cool in Japanese), but it was not tender and juicy at all, maybe if the pork were cooked less this dish could be one of the signature ones, there is no doubt about it, was more like good intentions and knowledge than cooking skills. I loved the gently braised baby pork ribs in Inamo's rich rib sauce, it's a totally must.
Regarding the sushi, we ordered a 5 pieces crispy soft shell crab maki, with avocado and chives, a Scottish salmon sashimi (5 pieces), and a nigiri moriawase (assorted nigiri) plate, there were no doubt about the freshness and presentation, absolutely great, however, most of the restaurants does not knows that the most important ingredient for a good sushi is the rice. I'm sorry, in this case the rice was not right, the temperature was colder than it should be, I couldn't taste the vinegar and salt on the rice seasoning, and I could not feel the rice spreading on my palate, it was more like a compacted rice mass on my mouth, so, Presentation :) Freshness :) Quality :) Skill/Technique :(
it was very very nice to see the dishes with the lights and projections...
I will try it again soon, hope I can see some improvements to share them with other Sushi Lovers.
Address: 11-14 Hanover Place, Convent Garden
London. WC2E 9JP. UK
Telephone: 020 7484 0500