Pan-Asian Food and Fun in Mornington Crescent at inamo, Camden:
As someone who sees herself as quiet and a little serious, the concept of inamo, with interactive tables, iPad ordering and an open kitchen, isn’t one which I’d immediately expect to enjoy. But, a while ago I went to the launch of the Covent Garden branch and was impressed by the food, in addition to really rather enjoying the geekiness of tables that let you play games, draw pictures or just pick your favourite table-cover. So, when I was invited to review the newly opened Mornington Crescent restaurant I was keen to go along.
On a prime spot, directly opposite the tube, inamo has a small outside terrace with charcoal grill and two floors of space. We didn’t venture upstairs, gentle reader, there was a Christmas Party in progress, which could well have been a major challenge for the kitchen downstairs. We sat directly in front of that and were particularly impressed at how well this very newly opened spot coped with one of those ‘MasterChef challenge’ moments.
For ourselves, we started with two cocktails – mulled sake for me, which was nicely Christmassy without being over sweet. My companion enjoyed a picture perfect lychee martini
We rather enjoyed messing around with the iPad ordering system, though I think if I’d been left to my own devices I’d either have ordered the whole menu or starved!
As it was, we managed to get exactly what we wanted.
To start, a seaweed salad and vegetable tempura. I particularly enjoyed the cleansing, light seaweed salad which we started with and instantly regretted not having ordered the miso soup. The tempura had a light, crisp batter and there was a good mixture of vegetables, all perfectly cooked.
The sushi doughnut wasn’t my order – and I hadn’t actually read or looked at what it was – for whatever reason I thought it would be a real doughnut…
Actually, it’s a doughnut-shaped mound of sticky rice topped with some traditional sushi fish and sprinkled with black and white sesame. It is pretty and very delicious and definitely made to share. Exclusive to Camden, you’ll have to travel to Mornington Crescent if you want to try it.
The Dragon Roll was beautifully presented and a really good balance of ingredients – a crispy tempura prawn filling with sushi rice, avocado, mayo and caviar all presented so you could really see the Chinese dragon!
I had my eye on a particular main course, which I’d enjoyed in inamo Covent Garden. The Hot Stone Fillet and Rice is a fun dish with a hot stone provided so that you can ‘cook’ the slices of fillet steak to your own liking. It comes with a good helping of English fillet tail and three dipping sauces, Nam Jim, teriyaki & Korean BBQ.
If you do order it, then be sure to let the waiter know if you need a new stone. Ours was particularly attentive and I didn’t have to ask, but you will find that you need at least one ‘refresh’ for every portion. as the stones cool quickly.
My companion, meanwhile, had his eye on the Black Cod. It was a stunningly presented dish and although we initially thought the glaze looked heavy, it was beautifully cooked and perfectly balanced. I was allowed just a tiny bit of the flaky white fish with its sticky sweet miso glaze. Delicious.
We had, by this stage, eaten far too much. And, I’d been happily sipping away on some warm sake.
So, we skipped pudding. However, should you decide to indulge there are plenty of options on the main menu, including the pretty Baked Alasparkla. I have to admit to a few regrets as we walked out. The mince pies, obviously a seasonal special did look quite delicious. But then, so was everything we ate.
So, would I recommend inamo? Yes, without hesitation. It’s the kind of place to come with friends, with kids who need to be entertained and with anyone who is impressed with something a little different. And, the best part for me is that all the design quirkiness comes without compromising the food in any way whatsoever.
265 Hampstead Road,
London NW1 7QX