By Nina Koo-Seen-Lin.
Decadent drinks are getting a digital design overhaul. Think 3D art installations, touch screen menus, and credit-card shaped waiters that actually make cocktails. Tis the future of London’s bar and restaurant scene, Fluid friends. Embrace it.
Graphic, 3D bar, Soho
From September 2012 for six months, Graphic, Soho’s highly popular gin bar, has a new art installation designed by the renowned and innovative 70s 3D artist, Jim Sharp. Collaborating with Bombay Sapphire, Sharp has produced a set of thought-provoking 3D paintings. On first sight the works have a mesmerising yet simple depth to them. Gaze at them through 3D glasses and the perception alters adding new layers of intrigue. Even the menus have had a 3D facelift. Graphic’s signature gin cocktails are as great as ever. The paint pot punch range is phenomenal: Paint the town blue (Millers gin, Briottet blackberry liqueur, fresh lime juice, orange bitters, Fever-Tree ginger ale) or pink (Bombay Sapphire gin, Briottet apricot liqueur, peach bitters, fresh lime juice, pomegranate syrup, Fever-Tree lemonade).
Inamo, Interactive Japanese restaurant, St James
Inamo is insanely brilliant. Even if you don’t know the name you’ve definitely heard of its innovative and interactive concept. The oriental food and bar uses E Table, the world’s first interactive food ordering system. Customers have complete control over their dining experience. The steps are simple: run a finger around a laptop-like mouse pad to bring up a cursor and some icons. Click on them and pictures of menu items are projected on to the table. You order your food. It arrives. You eat it. As well as being able to order food, customers can opt their preferred virtual tablecloths, view the chefs in real time using Chef Cam and take advantage of some fun and practical facilities such as games taxi services and local information. I think the only thing the table doesn’t do is go to the toilet for you (but it does give you directions to the facilities).
Vapiano, plastic credit card waiter Italian restaurant, Fitzrovia
Italian interior design, food and wine combined with a German chip-card ordering system creates a winning foodie formula. Vapiano is one chain that’s definitely worth visiting. Serving pizza, pasta, a selection of Italian wines and iced tea arrived in London following its phenomenal success in Germany. Besides the high standard of food, it’s success is down to a switch: waiters have been replaced by a bit of plastic. The system is simple. Diners arrive and are presented with a white chip card. Order what you fancy and with everything you order you swipe your card. After your meal, the total's totted up and you pay on the way out. It’s a time-saving and money-saving (no waiters means no service charge). Take advantage of the vibrating Pizza Pager that buzzes when your food's ready.
And if you think that’s cool, you should read about Thai restaurant chain, Busaba Eathai and their leap into the world of the future.