10 Jul 2011

Inamo Soho - Japanese restaurant review

So this is my first restaurant review - it's where my boyfriend and I ate in the evening on our little day out in London a couple of weeks ago.  I read about Inamo online and it seemed like a really cool and funky place with the main quirk being that you don't order your food from a waiter - there's an interactive menu on your table!  I have a little bit of a fascination with all things Japanese, and especially when I heard there were only two restaurants in the country that have this interactive table feature, I needed to have a go.

This is the inside of the restaurant - it's funky and modern and also a bit futuristic in some ways.  Possibly it's that those things on the ceiling look like those portal tubes that beam you up on a spaceship, well they do to me anyway.  They're actually the projectors that make the menu and other things display on your table top.

Which looks like this.  It projects across the whole table so as well as providing your menu, it gives you a pretty table top design which you can change and play around with.

This is me checking out the cocktail menu.  Sadly our table didn't glow as brightly as some of the others.  This was actually a huge disappointment as the table system was the main attraction of the restaurant for me.  The restaurant was fairly quiet, so we should really have been offered a better table.  I think the light summer evening didn't help - I'm sure the tables light up better at night, so maybe Inamo should consider getting some blinds for their windows.

When you look at the menu you can select the item for a closer look and a picture of it appears on your plate.  Gordon Ramsay says having pictures on a menu is tacky, but in this scenario I liked it.  Especially when you're trying new and different foods, it's good to have a preview in addition to the description of the dish - it avoids those awkward moments when a dish comes to the table and nobody claims it as being theirs as it's not at all what you expected!

Each customer orders individually and your food is cooked as your order is placed.  The wait time is supposed to be around 15 minutes, but we never waited more than about 5 minutes as the restaurant was quiet on a Monday in the early evening.

While you're waiting you can check out chef cam!  It sounds better than it actually is.  As you can see in the picture below, you can't actually see the food being prepared - just a wide shot of the kitchen.  If you look closely you can see here that the part of my table where the menu, chef cam etc appears had a permanent stain / mark on it which distorted the view.  That was a real shame and something I think the restaurant should get fixed asap.

If your date's a little dull and the conversation dries up, you can always play a few table top games together!  There's a matching pairs game, a puzzle and battleships.

Of course I beat the boy at matching pairs.

...and at the puzzle game.  We won't discuss battleships...

Onto the food.  

Soft shell crab maki rolls

This was crab sushi - it looked amazing on the plate and tasted just as good.  This was not your standard marks and sparks stuff!  

Baby crispy prawns with Thai mango relish 

The bf picked these prawns in a light batter with a spicy sauce - this was also delish.  I thought it was a bit of a boring choice but they were really tasty and the dipping sauce was interesting and unusual.  

Duck temaki 

My boyfriend loved these duck rolls and is still going on about them two weeks later.  They were really nice, but for me the hoi sin sauce was a little bit stronger than I'm used to and a bit overpowering, but that's just me.

Seared scallops with Wasabi and Yuzu

The scallops were my favourite dish.  I love scallops anyway, but the dressing on these was literally to die for.  If I was less of a lady I'd have licked my plate.  I learnt that Yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit and with the wasabi it was totes amaze.

The menu is split into small and large dishes and we ended up just ordering from the small dishes menu.  This was mainly because we couldn't pick anything we liked from the large dishes and preferred the sound / look of more of the smaller dishes.  I had checked out the menu online before we went to the restaurant, but some of the dishes I'd seen online didn't seem to be available.  

Also I have to confess that we weren't super hungry as we'd been chomping on various things all day.  

Drinks were reasonably priced for the location and of the food we tried, it was of an impressive quality and the flavours were amazing.  The downside for me was the quality of the restaurant's USP - the table top ordering system.  Our table was very dull compared to the others and my screen area was damaged, so this did put a bit of a downer on things for me at the start of the meal.  The table top system is hyped up to the max on the Inamo website, so I really think they need to make sure all of their tables are up to standard.

You can see in the picture below the contrast between tables that glow really well and those which are dull.  

I wasn't paid to review this restaurant, I found it online and chose to go of my own accord and we paid full price for our meal.  If you want to check it out, have a look at the Inamo website or the menu 

Overall I'm rating this restaurant 6 / 10 - the food was amazing, but the overall experience was a let down

I hope you enjoyed the review - it's something a bit different from the usual posts on this blog!  I like trying out new and unusual places to eat, so let me know your favourites (preferably in London!) in the comments.  


  1. i've always wanted to try this place since i heard about it a few months ago but i'm not a big fan of the food which has put me off. i just wanted to go to play with the table! its a shame that yours wasn't as bright and clean as the others. i think if thats a restaurants feature they need to make sure they are always in good working order xxx

  2. This place looks awesome! Great review

  3. This place looks great. Can't believe I havn't been there before. The food looks so great! But it's a shame you thought the experience was a let down xx


  4. Great review - the restaurant sounds like it's a really fun concept and the food looks great. x

  5. I am definitely going to go there and hopefully I'll get a good table. My boyfriend is obsessed with gadgets and we both love Japanese food, I can't believe I've never heard about this place before! I love your new sort of blog posts, I really enjoy reading about bloggers lives and days out especially London as I can get there. Also I think restaurant reviews are really helpful, you have inspired me when I start my own blog (eventually) to include them. Did you notice what sort of vegetarian selection they had? If some of the dishes weren't available I'd be a bit miffed if those weren't available (this has happened to me before!)


Let me know what you think, and feel free to leave your blog link! I really appreciate every comment and always reply to questions x

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