Hajime Robot Restaurant
Fun and Geeky way to eat Yakiniku
If you are running short of ideas to entertain your kids or, like us, you enjoy fun, geeky or unusual things, Hajime is an entertaining place for a lunch or dinner. Hajime is a Yakiniku restaurant, one of the extremely popular eateries in Asia that comes with a mini barbecue in the middle of each table. It might be surprising to first timers but so far, nothing is particularly striking. What makes Hajime unique is the fact that food is brought to you… by a samurai robot!
So it's with some excitement that we walked into this Japanese restaurant located near Rama III road, scanning the room for any sign of this unique machine. As far as we recall, and for those of you who are old enough remember, we were promised robot servants and flying cars by the year 2000, but so far it hasn’t really happened. Instead we got the Internet. So here it is... Science fiction has finally caught up and a robot will serve us today!
The restaurant is set in a double U shape with guests sitting on each side of a glass alley equipped with a track. In the rear of the restaurant, with their backs to us, are two white robots dressed as Samurai warriors. How exciting is that?! On each table a touch screen displays all the dishes available, with plenty of meat and seafood options. Select all the items you feel like eating then press 'order to robot'. So far, it is pretty cool and extremely promising. Then everyone anxiously gets ready to see the machine in action… minutes pass and the robots are still there, facing the kitchen and immobile, it almost feels like they are ignoring us. More time passes and robots are motionless… Let's ask a human: the human apologizes but the wait continues.
At last, the situation becomes interesting… after a good 20 minutes (that's quite a long time when you are hungry or under the age of 12) the robot suddenly turns around and glides full speed down the track, stopping in front of someone's window (sadly not ours…). A glass panel rises when the robot serves to avoid any accidents. The robot, whose face is a computer screen with two large cartoonish eyes, skilfully places his left tray on the dedicated area, then with his other 'hand' picks up an empty tray. He then blinks, rotates, rushes back to the kitchen so fast everybody's photos are blurry and returns to his resting position… Mister Roboto stands there, back to us, and everyone in the room stares intently at the machine praying to be the chosen one who gets served next.
The robot is actually extremely efficient, and the bottleneck is clearly at the kitchen. We now know why humans are so worried that robots will take over the world! At one point, when everyone has been served, both robots start dancing to a Lady Gaga song, revealing a surprising agility. It's easy to forget that under the fancy Samurai outfit the complex mechanism looks a lot like the machines that make cars.
If you choose to eat a la carte the food is decent without being excellent. A buffet is also available, cheaper but serving lower grade meats (Shabu 359 Baht and BBQ 499 Baht). Kids love this unique experience, which would be really fun, even for adults, if only the preparation was also be done by machines as well!
Hajime Robot Restaurant
- Opening Hours: 11.30 am - 10 pm (buffet time 1.45 Hrs)
- Location: Monopoly Park, Rama3 Road between Soi61 and Soi 63, Bangkok
- Tel: 02 683 1670