I think I've just discovered the perfect first-date restaurant...
Where? Inamo St James, 4-12 Regent Street, London, SW1Y 4PE
What? The ideal first-date restaurant, complete with innovative interactive ordering system...
The vibe: Following the success of their first restaurant - the Soho-based Inamo - the tech-foodie junkies behind the award-winning eaterie have just launched their second establishment. Stepping inside Inamo St James is like entering a Japanese garden - with bamboo-shoot decor, living wall and indoor running water feature. But that's where tradition ends. The star attraction is the E-Table, an interactive ordering system which is what makes the Inamo experience like no other.
Thanks to a nifty overhead projector and touch-screen pad, you can view the complete menu by scrolling through the various options on the surface of your table and order at the click of a button.
It's really rather clever - dishes are projected onto your plate so that you can see what they look like before you decide, the virtual table cloth can be changed in a second and you can keep track of your bill total as you go - meaning there are no nasty surprises at the end of your meal. In essence, complete control of the dining experience is put in the hands of the customer.
But that's not all: Ingenious extras include on-table games, a map of nearby attractions and transport options and even a live chef cam, which shows you what's happening inside the kitchen right at that very moment. Which as you can imagine, all makes for a great first date ice-breaker - that is, if you don't get too distracted by all the interactivity on offer.
And the food? Techie treats aside, Inamo St. James is no one trick pony. With an extensive Pan-Asian menu, this restaurant has serious substance to back up the style. We'd recommend the baby crispy prawns and truffle marbled beef from the small dishes menu, and the tamarind duck breast from the selection of larger dishes.
What's good to drink? Inamo boasts an extensive wine and cocktail menu - we particularly enjoyed the lychee martinis.
All in all? A really fun night out, with an original, innovative dining concept and excellent food to boot. The atmosphere can err on the informal at times - you might have to table share - but it makes for a uniquely interactive experience. And despite the ordering system, there is still an abundance of staff to answer any questions, or deal with any special requests. It's not too pricey either, with small dishes starting at £2.50, and larger dishes ranging from £9 to £23.
Need to know? Inamo St James is open Mon-Sunday, 12noon - 5pm for lunch, then 7pm - 12.30am for dinner.
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