Noel Hunwick [Inamo]
Inamo is arguably one of the most cutting-edge dining institutions we have on offer in London. In fact, Inamo is the most technologically progressive restaurant in London. With sites in Soho, Covent Garden and more recently Camden the restaurant group is showing no signs of slowing down so we took the time to catch up with Inamo’s forward-thinking director Noel Hunwick.
Tell us a little more about how you prepared for the launch of Inamo Camden?
Our head office is in Camden, which has been handy for local knowledge! Our new site has a beautiful front garden with an outdoor robata grill & bar and a heated roof terrace so we’ve been looking to ensure we fulfil the potential of these spaces – particularly when the weather warms up a bit.
We also wanted to introduce some new dishes to the menu such as our sushi donut & sushi bagel (not what you’ll be expecting!), and put lots of work into ensuring we achieved a fantastic finish on the interior with our designer Philip Watts.
What variables played a part in your location choice?
We wanted somewhere that was still close enough to our West End sites in Soho & Covent Garden, in a more residential area, that still had significant corporate opportunity.
A key factor with our choice of our Camden location came down to our being made aware of a beautiful new build property directly opposite Mornington Crescent underground station.
There was a great deal of competition for the site, we understand, with up to 20 competing offers on the table. So we’re naturally delighted that we won through.
What would you say your speciality offering is?
Order your meal via interactive table surface projections and tablet, customise your virtual tablecloths, play engaging games such as pong & memory, even colour and draw directly on your table surface with inadoodle.
The table experience at Inamo is unlike anywhere else in London or beyond. Naturally a restaurant would be nothing without a fantastic menu, and ours offers a wide selection of flavours from across Japan, China, Thailand, and Korea.
Sushi & Sashimi dishes include house favourites such as Dragon Roll and Seared Tuna Sashimi. Asian Tapas includes Yum Buns, Chicken Karaage, and delicately steamed dim sum, whilst the Classics offer a signature taste of Inamo with Black Cod and Hot Stone Fillet.
If you had to advise us on three dishes to try, which direction would you point us in?
We’re about to fairly majorly reinvent our menu at the end of March, so join us soon to try these: Dragon Roll – crunchy tempura shrimp, topped with creamy avocado (layered like dragon scales) and a touch of mayo. Hot Stone Fillet – served on a sizzling hot black stone to cook to your liking with 3 sauces (zingy nam jim, teriyaki, Korean BBQ). Iberico Baby Pork Ribs – braised in Inamo’s rich rib sauce they fall off the bone. Yum.
Tell us a little more about sourcing your produce…
We work with over 15 suppliers to ensure we can manage quality and pricing. The provenance of our ingredients is always forefront in our mind.
Where our dishes call for it, we only use British Beef and Scottish Salmon, our Tuna is all line caught, our scallops hand dived and you won’t find any endangered species on our menu.
What’s been your favourite opening in London this year?
I really enjoyed dinner at Som Saa, an excellently executed compact menu, and just enough kick without reducing you to tears (as a green papaya salad with piles of fresh chillies once did at Nahm, where chef Andy Oliver worked in the past).
Having long been a fan of Moro, I also loved going to Morito this year. I was also treated to dinner at The Araki, and… WOW… but thank God I wasn’t paying!
If you could see more of one thing in London what would it be?
Great compact club spaces with fantastic sound-systems. In my spare time I produce some dance music and do a little DJ-ing under the pseudonym Reiver. My good friends run a brilliant underground label called Chapter 24 Records, and looking for spaces to run their nights is always a challenge.
If some out-of-towners were visiting for the weekend where would you take them?
Southwark Cathedral – I sing in a chamber choir there when I can get away from work (my attendance record isn’t sparkling), and it’s a beautiful ancient space. Galvin Bistrot Deluxe for great reasonably priced food. Then the Pickle Factory for dancing!
Late night watering holes are few and far between nowadays, where would you go for one too many?
I really enjoy the cocktails at the Zetter Townhouse (either Clerkenwell or Marylebone). Decked out like Georgian front rooms they’re very characterful spaces and Tony Conigliaro’s cocktail lists are invariably winners.
Why is London the greatest city in the world?
It’s a giant melting pot of people of different backgrounds, experiences, cultures, and cuisines; and generally accepting of all. Something symptomatic of being British for centuries to my mind.