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restaurant where diners order food and drinks from ‘intelligent’ interactive dining tables, opened in Soho. In my review I wrote that the restaurant was “pitched perfectly. It works on several levels: the design, the service, the quality and value of the food, the ambience and the technology.” I concluded that it “remains to be seen how successful it will become but it wouldn’t surprise me to see Inamo restaurants sprouting up in other parts of London before too long”.

I Inamo in Soho has become phenomenally

successful. In fact it was voted by readers of Time Out magazine “Best restaurant of 2010”, has won a handful of prestigious awards and is regularly turning tables to keep up with customer demand. Moreover, the tabletop technology, which remains at the heart of the operation, is now being sold under licence to operators overseas.

n the Spring of 2008 a new dining concept was launched by entrepreneurs Noel Hunwick and Daniel Potter; Inamo, the Japanese fusion

The second Inamo has now opened off

Piccadilly on Lower Regent Street and, as befits a more upmarket part of town, the interiors provide a level of sophistication that was missing in the first development. It’s an altogether more grown up restaurant although it does retain a youthful sense of fun, largely because of the touch screen tables that provide all manner of entertainment, from playing board games to ‘spying’ on activity in the kitchen. Guests can also ‘match’ the design pattern of the walls, study bus and underground routes and even order a taxi using the table touch pad. The owners wanted to create something

different to the original, something that would attract daytime customers as well as an evening crowd. The space needed therefore to be lighter and more open and all finishes needed to be of sufficient quality to stand up to close inspection during daylight hours. The property formerly housed another restaurant and the footprint remains pretty much as it was: the dining space wraps around a bar

and storage block on three sides, two of which are street-side. The third, a generous area, is sandwiched between the kitchen wall and the bar towards the back of the building. At the far end of this space there are two semi-private dining areas created to cater for party bookings. The wall that backs onto the kitchen has been

made into a vertical garden feature. A full height stone waterfall, designed and installed by Privett, is flanked by two ‘living plant walls’ by specialists, Biotecture. The theme of nature runs throughout

the restaurant’s design to counterbalance the technology. With the exception of the lacquered ceiling, which cleverly houses the overhead projectors, and the white coated tabletops below, everything is given a natural treatment. Designers Macaulay Sinclair have created an exciting and busy space that is distinctly Asian in feel. As director John Macaulay explains, “Our core design theme was nature’s patterns, composition and structure.

Opening INAMO

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