Soho is the set of streets and alleyways that are tucked away in the West End, which is one of the most fashionable and cosmopolitan parts of London. It’s well-known for being the centre of London’s gay area. Besides, it’s also a red light district where you can find a lot of strip clubs and adult shops.
Well, Soho is not just about that! When dust approaches, Londoners and tourists flock to the winding alleyways, spoil themselves with choices for entertainment – a large amount of bars, restaurants, pubs, clubs, cinemas, live music venues, theatres and comedy clubs which have mushroomed over the years. That quickly turns Soho into a melting pot of disparate rhythms and cultures.
For me, Soho is a foodie’s paradise. This area has got so much to offer, from Chinese food to Italian food that will suit all tastes and budgets for people from all walks of lives. It’s amazing how a small district has been able to keep its liveliness.
As one of the trendiest place in London, you would imagine that there’re some really stylish restaurants in this area. Yes, you are right! There is a little jem called Inamo in Wardour Street, Soho.
Inamo is an Oriental fusion restaurant and bar – a very interesting take on Oriental fusion cuisine that combines Japanese, Thai, and Chinese cooking. Inamo stands out from the crowds for 3 good reasons – trendy, great idea of fusion flavours and very technology savvy. Inamo has deployed an interactive ordering system, where you have total control in your hands.
There are no paper menus. You place your orders literally on the tables. Food and drinks menu is projected onto individual table surface. You just need to use the touch pad to browse and tap to order away whatever you fancy. This interactive ordering process is just a fantastic idea and fun to use!
All the dishes and drinks are accompanied with beautifully taken photographs that make you drool instantly. What’s more? You can even see the chefs in action through the webcams! Another feature that comes in handy is that you can see how much you’ve ordered if you need to split the bill.
Décor wise, there’s pretty much no décor to speak of, as it doesn’t need any. You can set the mood and the ambience during your dining by changing the image projected onto your table, from plain colours to different patterns and pictures of different sorts. As you could imagine that all the colours and patterns of the tables are continuously changing which explain well why it keeps the décor to its minimal.
On the drinks menu, you have wines, beers, cocktails, soft drinks and hot drinks to choose from. The names of the cocktails caught my attention – lychee martini, sake mojito, sake martini, and a few more to name. The price ranges from £6.50 to £8.00. I settled for sake mojito. This is such a creative and great twist to the classic majito that uses white rum. The taste of sake wasn’t overpowering at all, blended with crushed ice and mint. It was a light and refreshing drink to start the evening.
Sake Martini is another proven great drink that looks almost yellowish green in colour, blended with pineapple juice, midori and lime juice, strained and served in a martini glass. Thai sapphire, however, muddled and shaken with lychee liqueur, apricot brandy, a generous measure of Ketel One vodka and pomegranate juice served over crushed ice wasn’t my favourite. I thought the generous amount of vokda was too overpowering. All I could taste was vodka and nothing else.
You have small dishes, large dishes and set menu to choose from. The price for small dishes ranges from £6 – £8. Whereas, large dishes are from £8 – £15 each. The food was served within 15 minutes after the order was placed. If you order all your food at once, it’ll arrive one after another.
As you scroll on the menu, each dish is illuminated in a large picture with its description by the side. Alaskan King Crab (£15.50) was first served. This luxury dish was nicely presented in the shell. The crabmeat was fresh, very nicely dressed in coriander, chilli and lime dressings, which gives a zing to it and brings harmony to the overall flavours.
Baby crispy prawns (£7) from the small dishes is a must-have! The prawns were lightly coated in a batter and deep-fried. They were so crispy that I couldn’t stop eating! It definitely goes well with the Thai mango relish that was served with it.
Kelp marinated and thinly sliced sea bass (£5.75) was fresh and elegantly presented on a piece of kelp on top of a sushi bamboo mat, served with sisho and soy. A very eye-catching dish, but nothing else is special compared to what you can get at any sushi bar. The same applies to the vegetarian mixed tempura (£8.50). Whenever I get my sushi fix, I never give nigiri sushi (£5.75) a miss. It was a bit of a let down as the sushi rice was slightly undercooked.
Hot stone rib eye (£16.50) is another one that made it onto my recommended list. That piece of meat was nicely seared on the outside and stayed pretty pink in the middle. It was served on a bed of thyme on the hot stone. The cooking was still taking place when served. It was one of those dishes that’ll make you really happy even by looking at it. It was accompanied with coriander sauce, with a zing of lime juice and a hint of fish sauce that went really well with the tender and juicy rib eye.
As a fish lover, black cod marinated with spicy miso (16.95) is a disappointment. I have to admit that the black cod was really fresh, nicely cooked to its perfection and the flesh was fine that could almost melt in your mouth. However, the taste of spicy miso wasn’t near to existence. In fact, the sweet chilli sauce was the limelight of the dish.
Wagyu bavette was accompanied with hijiki seaweed. It was braised in a soya and brown sugar, which works well with the meat. However, each piece was tough and hard to chew. I expect the meat to be easily fallen apart in a braising dish like this.
There were 6 desserts to choose from. Homemade sorbet, vanilla crème brûlée with strawberry and lemongrass jelly, thai basil pana cotta and etc. I thought thai basil pana cotta was interesting. It was indeed very nice and refreshing.
Staff are really friendly and attentive. Price wise, it is not very expensive for West End standard. This is probably the first time I have ever been to a restaurant that doesn’t have paper menus. The interactive tables are a brilliant idea and very fun to use. It would be a great night out with a group of friends. Food presentation is beautiful and modern. There are dishes that really stand out but a few that could be improved on. For special dining experience, I reckon, it’s definitely worth a visit.
MY COOKING HUT’s RATING
Venue & Ambience: 5/5
Cuisine type: Asian Fusion
Cost per head (excluding drinks): £25- £35
134-136 Wardour Street,
London, W1F 8ZP