The Imano restaurant in London's fashionable SoHo district isn't known for its splendid food or outstandingly accomodating waitresses. [via wired]
Instead, the new Asian fusion eatery is getting raves for its use of a touchpad-projection system that allows diners to send food orders directly to the chefs and makes the dining experience fully interactive.
Every table at Imano has its own image projector above (see pic at right), meaning every person essentially gets to eat off a giant computer screen. This allows the restaurant to offer several interesting experiences, like selecting the mood of the table by choosing between different 'place mat' images and videos. According to a recent diner, the rig is based on a flash/actionscript system.
When you're waiting for your meal to arrive, you can click on a kitchen camera that let's you see your food being prepared, play different types of computer board games (like Battleship), and when you're done, you can separate bills and boot up a map to figure out your next move around town.
But for me, the best part seems to be that when you're choosing through potential dining options, a picture of the food appears on the plate where you'll be eating it. I'm not sure if the size of the picture approximates the size of the actual meal, but I think this is better than just the syrupy, dramaticized meal explanation one usually gets.
As for the circular touch pad, it seems pretty basic, though I do worry about whether the restaurant changes its surface once in awhile to clean it. Otherwise, you have to rely on other people's hand-washing abilities or dip your hand in a tub of Purella before taking a bite.
Even though your ordering experience is pretty much automated, every table does have a waiter that brings over the meal and answers questions about the system.
Check out a few more pictures of the Imano restaurant after the jump.
Finding out the subway routes on the table. Phil Hawksworth/flickr
Actual food, looks too much like tapas' 'small plate' dining for my taste. Dan.Pan.*/flickr
Insert Photo: lauronsky/Flickr
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