Grab a byte or two at high-tech Inamo
10 February, 2017 — By Tom Moggach
Service at Inamo is fast and highly polished
“OPENING a restaurant is hell,” quotes the blog for Inamo, a high-tech Asian restaurant just opened in Mornington Crescent.
Opening new sites is risky and expensive – and for this launch they designed the whole building from scratch. This third branch of Inamo nestles on the side of Greater London House, the art deco ex-tobacco factory (now an office block) opposite Mornington Crescent tube, famous for its Egyptian architectural motifs.
At first sight, this new Inamo is a shock – like an alien spaceship has landed at the far end of Camden High Street. The modernist building, set over two floors, glows with multiple “Inamo” signs to lure you in. There’s a large terrace at street level and a second upstairs, complete with an open-air bar – sure to be buzzing this summer.
If you’re not familiar with Inamo, this small chain is known for its clever interactive technology and has outposts in Soho and Covent Garden. The tables are like interactive computer screens, connected to a projector above.
Click the mouse for various options: digital “tablecloths”, from flowers to fans; a “Chef cam” to spy on the kitchen; games such as ping pong; or pens and brushes to doodle pictures. Menus are on electronic tablets, not paper – you scroll through the options, complete with handy pictures of each, then ping off your order through the wireless ether.
Let’s get one thing straight: these digital gimmicks are not to everyone’s taste. The swirling, kaleidoscopic colours on the tables can feel disorienting. You may not want tech with your mealtimes. But it’s fun if you’re in the mood – ideal for a date, children and the bulk of the younger generation. I’m just not sure I’d bring my 60-year-old parents.
The rest of the interior is sleek and splendid – vast windows, Tom Dixon lighting, tons of copper, gold and black. Starters include sushi, sashimi and “Asian tapas” – Inamo’s menu draws in influences from Japan, China, Korea, Thailand and beyond.
My dim sum arrived lightning fast and steaming hot – lovely pillows of minced shrimp and vegetables with a zippy sauce for dipping. I gnawed through a pile of Iberico pork ribs before the main event – a Thai fish curry with rice. The chunks of tilapia were fresh and well-cooked, but the rich coconut milk needed more balance from kaffir lime. Dessert was almost a symbol of the Inamo ethos.“Baked Alasparkla” was a cute twist on a baked Alaska, served with strawberry and lemongrass sauce and fizzing sparkler, which the waitress then whisked away in a napkin.
Service at Inamo is terrific – friendly and highly polished. A meal for two would cost around £65 before drinks and service. Not cheap, but then again you wouldn’t expect a bargain at a swish place like this.
I’m curious to see how trade picks up in the months and years to come. Inamo would be a sure bet near Camden Lock. But this location is more of a gamble.
265 Hampstead Road, NW1
020 7484 0500