Hot Stone Rib Eye
Inamo St. James
4 – 12 Lower Regent Street
London SW1Y 4PE
Tel: 020 7484 0500
Hallucinations are thankfully few and far between in my life but I had to do a double take when we visited Inamo St. James. The chic, classy young vibe that is in abundance here is very welcoming. But when you sit down at your table nothing really prepares you for the phantasmagoria in front of you. This restaurant has a simply brilliant system of ordering your food. There is a discrete projector above each place setting and with the use of a track pad you can order food and drinks. That makes it sound simple doesn’t it? Well that’s just the beginning you can view the menu, all of it dish by dish projected on your table. So if the chicken and lemongrass dumplings take your fancy then you just click and along it will come, they were superb by the way. The same goes for drinks. You can see all the labels of the wine choices. The images are larger than they are in reality so it’s very easy to decide if you like the look of something. All accompanied by descriptions as well.
The pan Asian food is really good here. It looks beautiful and is competently prepared. The menu offers smaller dishes, which are effectively starters and larger dishes, which are mains. I’d take this with a pinch of salt, as some of the smaller dishes are rather small so you might want to think about ordering two. We ended up as most people do here by sharing everything.
So with a wide and varied menu and a brilliant application of technology what could possibly go wrong? The grown ups sat looking at the menu systematically thinking about what might go well with this and that and our children seemed to be able to read, digest and order before we had even worked out how to do it. So a word of caution if you are with younger children by all means let them play around with the gadgetry but I would advise a nominated ‘clicker’.
Some great food came our way and at different times, it’s all related to when you order so don’t expect a conventional roll out of the food. A crispy beef and Thai mango salad was full of flavour and zingy. A wooden box of crispy baby prawns lasted I think less that a minute with our teenager. A beautiful avocado sushi dish was resplendent. The food here is ravishingly attractive, well presented and served with so many dips and oils that you really can customize your dish to your heart’s content.
The waiter hovered into view (yes they do have them here) and mentioned that it might be an error but did we really intend to order three of one dish when we already had five others on the table. Clearly you have to keep an eye on one’s kids. Think of it this way, would you let your children have your credit card details and log them into say the Amazon Xbox gaming section? No, certainly not. It is possible to track what you have ordered but we didn’t work that out for a while, because we aren’t children!
They have some very fancy cocktails for both adults and children alike. A twist on the omnipresent mojito with sake was refreshing and delicious. The kids both went for an appleberry version, which was summer in a glass. The wine selection starts reasonably but could become very grown up very quickly, again a warning if you are in a ‘jolly’ mood the bill might be more than you bargained for. It really is so easy to order anything.
The tables are quite fascinating, as well as ordering you can play games including old school battleships. We played this willingly (neither of us grown ups are remotely interested in electronic games) between food and it was great fun. Maybe it was to see if we could beat the kids (quite hard these days) or the fun atmosphere just made it seem normal.
More food arrived so closed our games down and tucked in to another display of excellent dishes. Miso and yuzo salmon was a large fillet with a touch of wasabi-spiced miso on a pickled salad. This had all the tastes it promised, a good choice at £14.50. They do a version of duck pancakes (a firm family favourite) that had a different salad of coriander also the duck is not crispy. I liked it but it didn’t gain every ones approval. The out and out winner for me was hot stone rib eye, which comes with three sauces. This is some of the best rib I have eaten in years, total brilliance resting sliced on a giant grey pebble, but at a price, £17.25. I would unreservedly recommend this dish to any carnivore it was that good. Cinnamon chicken with a heavy-handed application of cinnamon had a peculiar taste, making it uncharacteristically sweet was not a winner.
The now customary visit from the waiter occurred as he gently asked if we had really ordered another four appleberry cocktails. As ever our customary answer was no, thank you for letting us know!
So just when I thought it couldn’t get any better the puddings started to roll in. An absolutely textbook perfectly formed macaroon with a white chocolate mousse had my taste buds doing summersaults. Homemade exotic ice creams and sorbets aplenty all disappeared without trace. A deftly made coconut cheesecake with cherry sorbet was another masterstroke these are priced £5 – £7.
This is a place to let your inhibitions go accept that hallucinations are the norm and let the kids run the show (well almost!). It’s not a cheap night out but it is fun. Get ready Mum and Dad they will grasp it quicker than you but don’t worry too much, if you go wildly wrong the ever-guiding hand of the waiter will let you know. One last point I’d make is that you can also change the colour and pattern of your electronic ‘tablecloth’. While this is amusing, if you pop off to the gents there’s a good chance that will be unable find your table again, or maybe it was just the sake mojitos? For some this might be useful especially if the bill has just arrived!