Table Manners

Never did I think that at 31 I would be using a giant computer screen masquerading as my table to order my lunch.

This is what I love about technology, the infinite applications it has in every day life, sometimes to make things easier, sometimes to make things safer, sometimes to make things quicker……but sometimes just to make them fun! I thought therefore, as Square Daisy is a media and technology company I would tell you about a great restaurant I went to last weekend. It’s called Inamo and there are two restaurants in London; one at St James’ Park and one in Soho. I learned about these places through a video feature in the iGizmo magazine on the iPad, have been banging on about going for ages and my wonderful girlfriend got us a table as a treat. The food is oriental fusion and is really very good. The real pull though is the interactivity and control that you can have throughout your meal.

Above every table there is a silent projector that projects imagery down onto your table, in the right hand corner of your table is essentially a track pad which allows you to move a cursor around an area of the table. When you arrive you are swiftly shown how to operate the system and then you’re left to your own devices. Choose the drinks menu, pick a drink, place your order and hey presto a few seconds later a member of staff appears with your drink. When ordering your food, decide through a simple menu system whether it is a small dish, big dish or side dish you want, and then scan through the options. Each time when you choose to look at an option, an image of it appears on your plate so you’re not disappointed when it comes and looks nothing like you imagined it to in your head. Order one thing at a time, two things at a time, it really is up to you. You’re in control. And through the whole process you can change your table cloth, alter the pattern or have it on random shuffle – why would you do this you might ask, well……because you can. Digitally. Which is a novelty in itself.

Aside form the ability to order food and drink, call for your bill or indeed just call the waiter over, there are a whole bunch of other features available through the table which although so simple, someone has really thought about.

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There is a ‘chef cam’ which following a cute little animation allows you to look into the kitchen and watch the chefs cooking your food, always helpful for those who wonder about the hygiene in a restaurant kitchen! There are maps to show where you are and what is nearby if you’re stuck for ideas of what to do next or where to get a late drink. A travel section allows you to check bus and tube routes and there is even a facility that lets you book a cab directly from the table – just be careful you don’t choose this option by accident!

Arguably the most fun part however is the ‘play’ section. This has three games that you can play on your own (if your date is going really badly) or against each other. A simple memory game, a shuffle game and battleships are all available, the first two with an oriental cuisine angle, and battleships with a….well, military angle. If you’re really brave, you can play to see who gets the tab. I did that, and lost.

So why go here? The food is good, I’d give a strong 8/10 (the miso soup is a comfortable 10/10 though). The surroundings are nice, clean and modern. The ambience and service are excellent. But you wouldn’t make a special trip for this reason, it’s purely because you can do cool stuff on your table! This place is an excellent choice of venue if you are shy or on a first date, there are enough things to keep the other occupied to avoid conversation. If you’re on the verge of divorce, an equally excellent venue – you can amuse yourself without having to speak to your partner and as a bonus you can get really competitive with the games afterwards.

So if, like me, you have a great relationship why would you go. Because you can do cool stuff with the table and it isn’t classed as poor table manners when you do it.

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