[Knockers picks up the baton once again as I really slack off. She filled in before covering Umami. And now Inamo. Basically if the restaurant name is vowel-consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel, she’ll eat there. She ate in Wasabi once when my top-hat obscured the W. When she found out she was properly angry. Now she knows how the Scottish feel all the time.]
On the occasions when over-indulgence necessitates a trip to the gym, I often entertain myself by trying to identify fellow worker-outerers’ recent meals through the medium of body odour. Yesterday, as a large, leaky gentleman bent over an exercise ball and a fog of seafood gyoza and tuna maki wafted my way, I thought: Oriental Fusion. And boy, did it make me hungry.
Fast-forward to 7pm and a busy Inamo restaurant on Wardour Street, Soho (http://www.inamo-restaurant.com/pc/). This is the place where you e-select from menus projected onto your table, so I was thankful I’d brought my trusty hand gel. The idea is that you control the experience, including a choice of patterned, neon lighting and local information (for tourists, presumably), which make the place feel like some dystopian Manga foodscape.
Because we’re all used to whizzing through iScreens, the dated e-menu technology made comparing choices a bit laborious. Luddites have no fear. But the dishes that appeared soon after we made our selections were mostly decent, albeit miniscule and over-priced (£83 for what was basically nibbles for three). The crispy prawns and veg tempura were nice (despite the dip of molten lava) and the satay was perfectly average. The squid dim sum, however, was like something from the bogey graveyard encrusting the underside of my car seat.
Although the experience was a bit all-concept-and-no-knickers, I was on the verge of declaring it acceptable when our waiter went all upstarty on our asses. Normally around twenty year olds I’m all like, hey let’s chat Lower Than Atlantis and do some totes hilare planking. But last night I would have very much appreciated being treated with a level of respect appropriate for grown-ups or, say, customers.
This is what happened when we requested a final glass of wine each towards the end of the meal:
Him (proffers bottle): We have run out of the wine you ordered. Is this OK?
Me: Can we have it by the glass?
Him: You might as well get a bottle.
Me (internalizes irritation): How much is it?
Him (raises eyebrow): Why don’t you just try it and see if you like it.
Me: I will, when you tell me how much it costs.
Him (rolls eyes, sighs): It’s £35.
Me: That’s OK, we’re heading off shortly. Just the bill, please.
Him: Ugh, fine.
That was when we got the bill to find the extra bottle of wine added even though we hadn’t ordered it, and Upstart proceeded to openly recount the tale-of-people-who-decline-wine to his colleagues with derogatory hand gestures. It is for that reason that Inamo gets a 4/10 and I send this message to Upstart: those adult ladies I was eating with? The ones you were rude about? They were well-paid movie execs and you are a waiter. So, you know. Bite me.
134-136 Wardour St
Tel: 020 7851 7051