inamo Covent Garden Opening:
The site for the latest inamo restaurant was once home to Cafe des Amis du Vin. At the time one of the most authentic French dining experiences in London, it was somewhere I’d frequent in my twenties and thirties. There was a sophisticated and louche wine bar in the basement, a cafe with bench seating on the ground floor and, if I remember rightly, a posh restaurant upstairs that I never could quite bring myself to afford. Going along to the launch of the newly refurbished contemporary Asian restaurant was just a little nostalgic for me.
Downstairs there were sushi lessons in what is apparently normally a luxurious cocktail bar. Upstairs a robot. At the door, as someone said ‘the only person who won’t be feeling cold tonight’.
And, on the ground floor we had the chance to sample some of inamo’s food (and their unique ordering service). Now, I haven’t tried any of the other branches of inamo so I was unaware that the original concept involved a table top computerised ordering system. In Covent Garden this has been replaced with with a neat ‘drawer’ for an ipad that is used to order food (one between two) and the interactive table is dedicated to games and providing kitchen-cams!
What of the food? Well, everything was delicious – we were served a platter of ‘asian tapas’ including some delicious sushi and sashimi, some baby crispy prawns in tempura and delicious korian chicken wings.
We went on to choose our own main courses – I picked the hot stone rib eye – mostly because Peter, who I had bumped into at the event was planning on having the black cod in spicy miso, which was my initial temptation.
I ended up quite delighted by the slices of rib-eye which I ‘cooked’ on a hot stone. The only hiccup was that halfway through the stone needed replacing and as a novice hot-stone-chef, I wasn’t aware until it was too late. I suspect the staff need to actually take control and bring out a new stone even if customers don’t ask for it – because by the time the stone is too cold to cook the dynamic is spoilt. Especially if your companion is enjoying a delicious plateful of black cod!
I’d probably had quite enough by this stage (especially as there had been canapes earlier in the evening), but it was hard to resist the baked alasparkla. Very much in keeping with the restaurant, it was a fun, light-hearted dessert that would have been excellent as a celebration.
inamo serves pan-Asian cuisine, with dishes inspired by Japan, China, Korea Thailand and more. It’s an excellent place for a reasonably priced fun evening out, a relaxed and vibrant environment where eating is just part of the entertainment.
11-14 Hanover Place,
London WC2E 9JP