★★★★ | Inamo
A beautiful branch of the small restaurant chain Inamo has opened up in a huge beaux arts building right across from Mornington Crescent tube station – and it’s delicious, classy and wonderful.
Inamo, which also has branches in Soho and Covent Garden, and which means being a slave to, is just that, being a slave to it’s food as it’s simply elegant and divine.
On the Sunday of Chinese New Year (the year of the Rooster), a friend and I paid a visit to the Camden branch for dinner. The two story restaurant, neatly tucked away in the massive British Heart Foundation headquarters, was practically empty. We didn’t really care – we were there for the food. And oh the glorious food! But to get to the food you have to order via a computer tablet on the table (with photos of the food – which really helps!), and a little push button device for each diner which enables one to change the color of the table via the lighting system above the table. (You can also change to a ‘tablecloth’ of many different types – bamboo, chinese lanterns, lilies of the field, moving patters or to my favorite a ripple effect). Ping Pong is also an option in case you and your dinner date get tired of looking at your phones.
The starters we had were the Iberico Baby Pork Ribs delicious ribs. The large five were glazed in plum sugar and shredded bell pepper on top – and at £8.75 worth every bite. The Char Sui buns (£8.95) were three very large BBQ pork buns – served with a tangy Thai sweet chilli sauce – very good but also very filling! My dining companion ordered Black Cod for her main course. At £24.95 it’s a bit pricy, but it’s garnished with cabbage and onions and bits of apple – she felt that it tasted very plain and looked too plain. I, on the other hand, was very happy with the Sliced Pork Chop with Yakiniku Sauce (corn syrup, apple juice, garlic salt soy sauce and vinegar), served with rice and Thai Mango Salad. I think this was the best course on the menu – tasty, different, and at £15.95 – good value for it’s money. We really wanted to get a good handle, and taste, of the menu so we had a few more dishes coming our way. The highly recommended Crispy Vegetable Tempura (£9.95) was deliciously-breaded vegetables (courgettes, asparagus, and mushrooms), absolutely yummy with a tempura dipping sauce. Also recommended is the Chicken Poké – a light and lively large bowl of chicken, served over a bed of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and edamame beans and was good but lacked something – perhaps it needs a kick of salad dressing instead of the olive oil it’s served with.
It was very hard to initially chose what to eat, and we tried as many dishes as we could, but there were lots more that I wanted to order. The Wagyu Burgers & Fries (£15.95), Duck with Pancakes (£18.45) plus various tapas (Asian, Sushi and Sashimi) including Tuna, California Rolls, Beef, Crispy seafood, chicken gyoza, etc. etc. etc. – there’s just so much!
I have to mention the drinks because Inamo knows how to do drinks! Wines are categorized in different categories – so there’s pretty much everything for anyone. Sparkling wines add a kick, and their cocktail list is wonderful. My friend had the non-alcoholic Guava Cooler – she found it very refreshing! I had the thirst-quencher Tropical Storm – passion fruit, lime and guava juice with a hint of cinnamon. I loved it, and both were a great deal at £5.95 each.
And the coup de grace was dessert! The Passion Fruit and Mango Dessert was divine! Mango mousse, passion fruit, apricot jelly and a layer of chocolate cake on a crunch base (£7.95) put me over the top! My friend had the Baked Alasparkla – creamy Baked Alaska served with Asian Strawberry and lemongrass soup and served with cherries! She loved it!
Inamo is a classy restaurant with very delicious food. All plates are beautifully presented in a beautiful setting with a very nice and attentive staff. There’s really nothing bad to say about this place – it’s in a non-foody location which will make it a destination restaurant because it deservedly is a good find!
Telephone: 020 7484 0500
Address: 265 Hampstead Road, Camden NW1 7QX
Mon-Thur 12:00 – 23:30
Fri-Sat 12:00 – 00:00
Sun 12:00 – 22:30
Closed from 3PM – 5 PM from Mon – Fri
Photos by Samphire Communications
Tim Baros writes film and theatre articles/ reviews for Pride Life and The American magazines and websites, as well as for Hereisthecity.com, Blu-RayDefinition.com and TheGayUK.com. He has also written for In Touch and TNT Magazines, SquareMile.com and LatinoLife.co.uk. He is a voting member for the UK Regional Critics Circle and the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA – of which he is the UK representative). In addition, he has produced and directed two films: The Shirt and Rex Melville Desire: The Musical.