Inamo London – the future of restaurants

Inamo is an Asian fusion restaurant situated in Soho, London. We went there for my birthday because –

a) I love Japanese food

and

b) They have an interactive ordering system – this is the future, people!

It might not be a new thing, but I certainly haven’t seen it anywhere before. There are no printed menus at Inamo, instead it is all projected onto your table and you can place your order digitally. You can also keep tabs of exactly how much you have spent, which is particularly handy if you are dining in a large group, rather than dealing with the whole messy splitting the bill situation. The only annoying thing about the interactive function was that I kept accidentally adding things to my order that I didn’t want, but it was easy enough to remove them again before ‘sending’ our order.

Cocktail and beer on the interactive tables at Japanese/Korean restaurant, Inamo in Soho, London

The other awesome thing about the interactive tables is that you can change the tablecloth, so to speak, by choosing different funky patterned backgrounds AND you can play games on your table – hubby and I had a couple of games of Battleships and Ping. Good fun while you wait for your food!

Funky patterns as digital tablecloths - the future of restaurants at Inamo Soho
Funky digital tablecloths

To begin, my husband ordered a Japanese beer while I decided to try one of the cocktails. I ordered the Ringoberi Mojito – rum and apple juice muddled with mint, sugar and blackberries. Yum!

The food at Inamo is kind of like Asian tapas, in that they bring it to you when it is ready, rather than the whole starters followed by mains deal. We decided to order the weekday set lunch menu of 2 courses for £10 and then share them so we get to try different things, as well as some tempura prawns from the normal menu because I discovered in Japan that I only really like prawns when they’re in a Japanese tempura!

We went for the rainbow maki (beetroot, pepper and cucumber sushi), which was alot smaller than sushi I’ve had elsewhere, but oh so beautifully presented!

Rainbow maki and a game of Battleships. Interactive dining at Inamo in London
Rainbow maki over a game of Battleships

We also ordered the Korean chicken wings which had a bit of a kick to them and were quite messy. If you’re going to Inamo on a first date or for a business meeting, do NOT order the chicken wings, there is no way to eat them in an attractive or professional manner.

The chicken wings were brought out alongside the tempura prawns, kind of as a second course after the maki. The tempura prawns were delicious and presented in a little wooden box with a side of Thai mango relish.

Tempura prawns and Korean chicken wings - Inamo Soho, London - an Asian fusion restaurant with a twist!

For our ‘mains’ (for lack of a better word), we both chose the teriyaki salmon which came with rice. The salmon was nice but I didn’t think it was that special, I think I was expecting more flavour. The funny thing was, when the waiter brought over our dishes he handed us one salmon and one curry, apologising that the kitchen had made an error, the curry was on the house and our other salmon was on its way. I think I actually enjoyed the curry more than the salmon! I don’t know what was in the curry as we couldn’t find it on the menu but we got lucky there!

Teriyaki salmon at Inamo in London
Teriyaki salmon
Curry from Inamo in London - Asian fusion restaurant
Our free curry!

Even though the dishes appeared to be small, we were absolutely stuffed afterwards so didn’t get to sample any of the restaurant’s dessert menu which sounded quite interesting – Baked Alasparkla in particular – baked alaska with a sparkle, hello!

Inamo Soho, also has a sister restaurant in Covent Garden, but both restaurants can get quite busy so it’s best to book in advance. However, we didn’t find it too busy visiting on a Friday lunchtime.

Inamo London - Asian fusion restaurant in Soho

Good food, good service but the winner was the futuristic and funky tables which I reckon will be everywhere before you know it!

If you liked this post you might enjoy my others about food, London or Japan.

3 fast food burgers you must try in New Zealand

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – New Zealand make the best burgers I’ve ever tasted. Infact I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so many in the space of three and a half weeks!

So without further ado here are my best burgers in New Zealand…

3. The World’s Coolest McDonalds, Taupo

I kept reading in all the leaflets I picked up in the i-site tourist offices that the McDonald’s restaurant in Taupo was a must-visit attraction. Now to name Maccy D’s as a tourist attraction I thought was quite odd so figured it must be pretty special, so naturally when we arrived in Taupo at lunchtime we headed straight there.

Just what makes the Taupo McDonald’s claim to be the “world’s coolest”?

The massive aeroplane outside it, that’s what!

Best burgers in New Zealand - The World's Coolest McDonald's

The World's Coolest McDonald's has an aeroplane that you can sit and dine in!

The aeroplane is genuine vintage too, not just some fake model fashioned to make McDonald’s a bit quirkier. The plane was built in 1943 and after serving time with South Pacific Airlines of New Zealand, among others, it eventually retired and has been at McDonald’s since 1990.

We decided we wanted to sit in the plane to enjoy our meal so thinking that it would be quite busy up there, I headed off to grab us a table while my husband ordered. Turns out I was the only one up there because it was so hot! Everyone else was taking advantage of the air-conditioning in the main restaurant.

Well, I wasn’t completely alone, this sparrow kept flying in and out, grabbing a few fries left behind by previous diners.

Fast food eating sparrow

The plane still has its original cockpit that you can peer into and there are also story boards on the walls just outside the cockpit for aviation buffs to learn about the aeroplane’s history.

The cockpit of the plane at The World's Coolest McDonalds.

Inside the World's Coolest McDonald's

The food itself I have to say is pretty standard. Typical McDonald’s really, I enjoyed it but the main reason Taupo McDonald’s makes the list is because of its fun factor!

McDonalds in Taupo New Zealand - you can dine in an aeroplane!

2. Fergburger, Queenstown

Fergburger is world famous, quite a feat considering it only has one branch and that is located in Queenstown on the South Island of New Zealand. Cited by many as a tourist attraction in its own right and featured in the likes of Lonely Planet, you will see the queue for Fergburger before you see the restaurant itself!

The mob outside Fergburger, Queenstown

Curious to see what all the fuss was about we headed there for lunch one day. We were queuing for around half an hour and then our order came about 15 minutes after that. Crazy! We were there around 2pm so had anticipated that we could be waiting a while. If you don’t fancy the wait, then Fergburger is open 21 hours a day so you can get your Ferg fix at a slightly less busy time.

Fergburger - A Queenstown attraction in its own right

Fergburger started in 2001 as a hole-in-the-wall on Cow Lane, it is now located on Shotover Street and has expanded with two businesses next door – Fergbaker, a bakery selling pies, pastries and cakes etc (which also happens to be where they bake the buns used for the burgers) and also Mrs Ferg, a gelateria.

Burger and fries at the legendary Fergburger
The cockadoodledoo burger and fries

We didn’t try the bakery but we did visit the gelateria twice, once for hot chocolate and once for gelato. There aren’t really any queues for Fergbaker or Mrs Ferg so some people queueing for a Fergburger did end up dropping out and opting for a pie or something instead.

The queue for Fergburger in Queenstown New Zealand
The queue stretching outside Mrs Ferg’s and Fergbakery

Was it worth the wait? Well we did end up going there twice. But note – there aren’t many places to sit so be prepared to dine alfresco. Plus the burgers are also pretty huge so we shared fries between the two of us.

Best burgers in New Zealand - Fergburger, Queenstown
Dining alfresco for my first Fergburger – The Fergburger with cheese

1. BurgerFuel, all over NZ

BurgerFuel is a New Zealand gourmet burger chain that began in Auckland in 1995 and can be found all over New Zealand’s North Island (with a handful of stores in the South Island). They also have branches in Australia, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, but sadly not the United Kingdom.

BurgerFuel, New Zealand

BurgerFuel are particularly famous for their amazing aioli sauce and also the ‘doofer’ – a cardboard device for holding your juicy burger. The restaurants are kitted out in a funky purple theme and the burgers all have names like ‘Bastard’ and ‘Bio Fuel’.

We ate at one of the Auckland branches and one of the Wellington branches. My first BF was the ‘V-Dub Vege’ and I would go as far to say that it was the best veggie burger I’ve had to date! Normally I find veggie burgers quite dry but this was delish washed down with a bottle of New Zealand’s famous L&P Lemon & Paeroa and a side of spud fries with aioli – my mouth is watering just thinking about it! I can’t remember what my second BF was but no doubt it was something cheesy!

L&P plus a V-Dub Vege at BurgerFuel New Zealand

But seriously BurgerFuel, when are you coming to the UK??

There you have my best burgers in New Zealand of the fast food variety (if you can count Ferg as fast?!). Have you ever eaten at any of these places? Or if not, where in the world would you find your best burger?


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WonderWorks Orlando – going upside down in Florida!

As I’m in a #throwbackthursday kinda mood I thought I would write about a place I visited on holiday in Florida a few years ago. If you read my post about Puzzling World in New Zealand, then I guarantee you will like this!

WonderWorks is the famous upside down house situated on International Drive in Orlando. It’s a weird, crazy, educational and fun indoor “amusement park for the mind”. It’s open from 9am until midnight so makes for something perfect to do if you have kids to entertain in the evening. Or in my case, friends who just wanted to visit the awesome cool upside down house.

WonderWorks - the famous upside down house on International Drive in Orlando, Florida

WonderWorks is an exciting and interactive adventure, where we got to experience an earthquake simulator – feeling the power of an earthquake reaching 5.3 on the Richter scale and a hurricane simulator with winds rushing at 74 miles per hour!

We also dipped our hands into icy water at -2 degrees celsius, which was as cold as the water when the Titanic sank. The challenge was to see how long you could keep your hand in the water for. Let me tell you, I couldn’t manage more than a few seconds!

There are loads of things to see and do in WonderWorks, we played with giant bubbles and laid on a bed of nails… 3500 nails to be precise and all in the name of science of course!

Make giant bubbles at Wonderworks on International Drive in Orlando

Test your endurance on the Bed of Nails at Wonderworks, Orlando

There was also a tube filled with one million beads. One of the beads was purple, the rest were pink or yellow. The challenge was to find the ‘one in a million’.

Find the one in a million at WonderWorks Orlando

And you know what, we only blooming found it! I even took a picture to prove it (although it is a tad blurry).

One million beads, one of them is purple - we found the one in a million! WonderWorks Orlando

We also got to go into a 2-seater simulator which tipped us upside down and threw us about. There was also an indoor ropes course – a bit like a neon glow treetop adventure kind of thing, except indoors. From the ground up it looked pretty easy and not too high although it’s a different story when you’re up there!

And just for your sheer enjoyment, here is a picture of me looking goofy in a spacesuit and my hubby who completely lost his head in the madness of it all!

Looking goofy at WonderWorks Orlando

As well as interactive spectacles, there are also crazy mirrors and random artwork, including these Gum Blondes – celebrity portraits made purely of bubblegum!

Gum Blondes artwork at WonderWorks

All in all our visit to WonderWorks Orlando lasted a couple of hours and offered us something a little different to rushing around the theme parks or lounging by the pool.

If you enjoyed this post, then why not check out my quirky travel board on pinterest or read about my visit to Puzzling World in Wanaka, New Zealand.

The day I attended Spy Academy

…and got offered a job!

Yeah you read that right, but let me start at the beginning.

Our day as aspiring 007s began at Spy Games HQ – a large warehouse in the middle of a field. I can’t tell you where it was because that is classified information.

Oh ok, it was just outside of Milton Keynes.

Anyway, as we entered the Spy Games HQ with our fellow James Bond wannabes, we were promptly divided into 3 groups of around 14 (although the academy does have a larger capacity). Each group was to then rotate between the different activities, spending around an hour at each.

HOUR 1

First up, axe throwing and laser tag battle. Our group of 14 was then split into two, half of us doing axe throwing and half doing a laser tag shooting battle and then switching over at half time.

The laser tag battle involved using laser guns and running around piles of tyres and abandoned trucks and caravans with the aim of shooting your fellow spies out of the game. I sadly lost 9 of my 10 lives fairly quickly but I managed to cling onto my last life until it was game over and I was only 1 of 3 left standing.

When it came to the axe throwing part of our Spy Academy training, first we were shown pistol draw techniques with dummy pistols and then we were taught how to throw axes into a wooden board. The axes don’t look how you would imagine them to, these axes were more like a star shape on the end of a pole – kind of like a deadly sharp metallic fairy wand. Axe throwing was not my strong point but our teacher was really humourous and lively.

Axe Throwing at Spy Academy

Hour 2

Out of the elements and into the warehouse, we were taught about bugs and surveillance gadgets. We were told stories from real ex-SAS men and we learnt about all the possible places you could hide a camera – from coffee cups to smoke alarms etc. In fact we had several hidden cameras watching us as we sat there!

Spy Games in Milton Keynes
There are multiple hidden cameras in this picture

After that, we then were taught unarmed combat and some basic self defence. Although the Spy Academy instructors do stress that what you learn there is for entertainment purposes only and not to leave there thinking you’re some kind of superhero.

Hour 3

Again, we were divided into 2 groups of 7, me being the only girl in the group this time. We used airsoft machine guns and were challenged to run up a stretch of ground yelling our heads off while shooting wooden targets with mean looking characters painted onto them. This was really fun but so tiring!! I’m not sure if it was the screaming or the running that wore me out first!

Fun and games at Spy Academy Milton Keynes

We also got the chance to shoot targets with sniper rifles. We had a couple of burly men show us how to do it and then we were given 5 small pellets to shoot our targets with. Once we had shot all 5 bullets, the men checked our targets and asked “who’s on lane 6?”. I raised my hand. The guy gave me a surprised look and shook my hand. I had managed to score two bullseyes (10 points), two shots in the 9 point circle and one shot in the 8 point circle.

Shooting a sniper rifle at Spy Games

My sniper target from Spy Academy
She shoots, she scores!

He then called his colleague over who asked me if I wanted a job. Haha! I think I took them by surprise as I don’t think they expected the tiny blonde girl to beat 6 blokes at such a macho task! I was feeling pretty proud of myself because, you don’t understand, I am literally good at nothing, especially anything vaguely sporty.

And that pretty much sums up our day at Spy Academy! At least I can be safe in the knowledge that if the zombie apocalypse ever happens, as long as I have a sniper rifle and a safe vantage point, I can pretend I am Sasha from The Walking Dead! RAAA!

Quirky things to do in wonderful Wanaka

Quirky Wanaka New Zealand

We had arrived in sunny serene Wanaka after a 3 and a half hour drive from drizzly dreary Franz Josef (do you like my use of alliteration there?). We parked up, checked in at our hostel and took a short walk into town where we were greeted by scenes such as this…

Gorgeous Lake Wanaka in New Zealand

It was gorgeously warm and sunny so we decided to have some lunch at one of the restaurants overlooking the lake. We ate at a place called Trout, where I had a chickpea, halloumi and pesto burger with chunky fries. I am telling you – New Zealand make the BEST burgers!

Chickpea, halloumi and pesto burger at Trout restaurant in Wanaka, New Zealand

Unfortunately, we were only in Wanaka for 1 night but it was the perfect place for a little relaxation before we hit the crazy adrenalin capital of New Zealand aka Queenstown.

So what are the quirky things to do in Wanaka?

1. Cinema Paradiso

Cinema Paradiso in Wanaka New Zealand - the coolest and quirkiest cinema i've ever been to!

What’s so special about a cinema? I hear you ask. Well, this one has SOFAS and CARS inside it! Yup, hubby and I used to be quite avid cinema goers and always used to joke and say that we should have our own sofa at the cinema, well at Cinema Paradiso our wish came true. Before we even got to New Zealand, we decided that we’d go and see The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – part 2 at some point during the trip and we found ourselves in Wanaka shortly after it’s release date. Perfect timing!

The cinema is small (it only has 2 screens) so advance booking is recommended. We popped in there before lunch to book our tickets for the 5pm showing and we got the last 2 tickets! You aren’t allocated seats so it’s pretty much first come first served.

Inside Cinema Paradiso in Wanaka
The array of seating options at Cinema Paradiso – including that blue car at the back!

Top tip: If you’re planning on a cosy movie experience with your significant other, choose a two-seater sofa because you may find your romantic evening for two will be gatecrashed by a third randomer when they try to squeeze the latecomers in!

My favourite thing: Besides the obvious, I loved how cheap the drinks were here, especially compared to cinema prices back home.

Something to note: There is an interval halfway through each film where you can go and buy freshly baked cookies (which are apparently very good). I found this a bit annoying as I was getting into the film and wasn’t hungry enough for a cookie.

Retro car inside Cinema Paradiso Wanaka
You can choose this retro car to sit in instead of a sofa!

2. Puzzling World

Puzzling World is kind of hard to describe, it’s like a bizarre museum of optical illusions and madness and describes itself as Wanaka’s Wonderful World of Weirdness. You can kind of tell from how the building itself looks!

Quirky Wanaka New Zealand - Puzzling World!

There are holograms and optical illusions dotted about on the walls throughout the experience. One of the first rooms you enter is the Tilted House where the floor is at one angle, the walls appear to be slanting at another angle. There’s a chair lift which seemingly travels uphill and all sorts of other mind boggling oddities. I couldn’t actually spend too long in this room as it made me feel quite sick!

Inside The Tilted House at Puzzling World
Attempting to do the Michael Jackson lean infront of a pool table where the balls roll upwards!
Cool hologram at Puzzling World in Wanaka
From one angle the statue is there… and from the next she’s been stolen!
Inside Puzzling World - Wanaka's Weird and Wacky attraction
Sitting on a seemingly suspended bench infront of a suspended tap
optical-illusion
Do you see the word ‘optical’ or ‘illusion’?

Puzzling World is one of those places that is better seen than described. It doesn’t take too long to walk around, but it is fun and interesting, and a decent way to spend a morning (which we did before we left for Queenstown!). Even the toilets here have optical illusions on the floor and the cafe has puzzles to play with.

Top tip: Keep your eyes open in some of the tourist magazines for discount coupons. They come in pretty handy when you’re on a budget!

My favourite thing: The Ames Room is awesome. You enter one door, your friend enters the other. You are both standing in the same room yet due to some illusion and trickery, one of you appears to be a giant and the other one appears to be teeny tiny! You can get a passer-by to take a photo for you, or you can watch yourself back on the tv they have there. Check out my video at the bottom of this post to see what I’m talking about!

Something to note: There are several entry options for Puzzling World – $16 for the Illusion Rooms, $16 for the maze or $20 for both. We decided that as we had other plans later on in the day, we would just pay for the entry to the Illusion Rooms as we weren’t too sure how long we could end up in the maze for!

Here’s a short and sweet video we made at Puzzling World. The Ames Room is at the end. Enjoy!