Waiter free bars? Sex doll styled Maitre D’s. Ice cream created wearing safety glasses and lab coats? Sounds futuristic, but all of these restaurants do exist, and I’ve sourced the most fascinating to share with you. Dining should be about more than food- enjoy my guide to the top ten High Tech Restaurants of the world.
Number one: Inamo Restaurant, London
Inamo Restaurant is located in Central London and serves you up sushi with a side helping of gadgetry. Everything about this restaurant had been optimized tech wise, from the iPad they check your reservations on to the touchscreen tables where you can order your food. The touchscreen tables are the most interesting part of the restaurant as they offer you so many things. They’re very pretty to look at, as you can choose what colour the table will be (and change it at whim) as well as whether you want it to be flowers/ stripes etc- design led technological place mats. To adjust the table you use a small circular touchpad in the left hand corner- there are no buttons but by moving your fingers and double tapping you can navigate around.
Essentially theses areas act as a mouse and you use an on table menu to navigate settings. There are games to play- should you WANT to play a game whilst eating and you can use the menu to order cocktails and food to your table. You do get waiter service as well, but this is an addition if you’re hungry and want more- or only want to order digitally. You can also access a webcam that goes into the kitchen to see the chef at work. I was excited about this, but the image is fairly blurry, so it’s not as good as it sounds. The menu also lets you choose your next location, which is cool, so when you leave you know what bar/club you’re retiring too.
Overall, I was impressed- and the food was delicious.
Check out the Inamo Restaurant here.
2. The Chin Chin Laboratorists and their nitrogen ice cream
A massive fan of ice cream, I’d never really given too much though into how it was made till I visited the Chin Chin Laboratorists in Camden Town, UK. The shop is tricked out to look part ice cream parlour, part mad scientists lab, and the staff wear labcoats and protective goggles. The goggles are need though as they’re dealing with liquid nitrogen and want to make sure they’re adhering to the safety codes. Instead of freezers full of ice cream, the Chin Chin Labs have a giant tank of nitrogen, which is used to form the ice cream the dole out daily. The ice cream is creating by mixing the liquid nitrogen in a metal jug, mixing it with a custard ice cream mic and then adding particular flavours to it. Making it in this manner means you can avoid crystals forming in the ice cream and it gives an amazing rich flavour when tasted- dense and delicious, similar to high end ice cream brands like Haagen Dazs. Watching steam evaporate over the counter is quite a sight to behold, and as the ice cream also tastes delicious it’s a gimmick that will have longevity.
3. Dalu Rebot Restaurant with Robot staff, in Jiang, China
The robots in the Dalu restaurant bear more in common with sex dolls than ET, as some of the robotic servers have been skinned with a humanoid appearance. Eight robots ‘work’ the place in total, with a skeleton human staff to make sure verything’ under control (and presumably press the off switch if they have too). The tables are laid out in a circular manner so the robots can retread a familiar path, and they can cater for 100 people. Each robot has a different specified task, from serving drink to ordering food. Created by the Shandong Dalu Science and Technology Company, the idea is pretty simple and seems effectively done. I’m a little scared by the androids designed to look like women who work as the hosts, but the concept of the robots in their rounds and the eerie blue design seems very cool.
4. Hajime Robot Restaurant, Bangkok
Hajime is a Bangkok based eaterie which serves a mixture of Eastern cuisine. Their hook is that all tables are served by robots who move along a motorized track to hand out platters of food. Not only do they serve people their dishes but they also can dance in time to techno music (you’ll have to decide yourself if that would detract from the food.).
To order your meal, you press the images of the food you require that display on the robot’s facial touchscreen and this then relays to the kitchen. It’s a cute idea and the robot looks like ET grew three feet and ingested Ecstasy, so I’d be curious to try the food there.
5. The Fat Duck- with Heston Blumenthal
Famous in the UK, Heston is a chef that’s become known for the way in which he cooks- a brand in his own lifetime, he’s renown for taking cooking to a whole new level, and has created food that’s artistic as well as edible. His restaurant The Fat Duck has been named the best in the world, and the food is a blend of skill and science- who says carbon dioxide isn’t an everyday ingredient? He uses this to create ice cream, and it’s astounding to watch as it looks pretty dramatic. He uses specialist software to identify individual elements and flavours in everyday materials and then works out how to synthesize this into menus. This leads to sweets with edible wrappers, a dry ice chocolate fountain; after all, he says, “an apple alone has 200 components, so we can draw from it so many different flavours”. He works with university scientists who help him on his path to create new and innovative twists on everyday flavours and he keeps pushing boundaries to the next level. What will he do next- I don’t know, but I’d like to taste it!
Read more about Heston Blumentahl here.
6. ‘sBaggers in Nuremberg, Germany
The interesting thing about this restaurant is not only can you order your food without ever needing human contact- a touchscreen computer nestles in front of each diner- but that you can also preview the menu, and learn facts about your food. The menu expands to share information such as where the meat is sourced from, you can discover how big the portions sizes are, and even investigate the philosophy of the restaurant. You never see waiters either- once the food has been created it’s ferried to the table via metallic tracks.
They’ve fully integrated their software into every aspect- you can rate the meal from your table, text your friend about where you are, and even choose to pay for your dinner at the end of the month- when you get paid! You can opt to create a custom menu for yourself, where you have a ‘hit list’ of your favourite dishes and it looks amazing. All food is made fresh and the layout of the restaurant makes-it feels very spacious, with a touch of futuristic about it.
7. Mizuya Restaurant in Sydney
Those who find waiters a bit precocious with their nonchalant attitude and insistence on being tipped for negligible service will love the waiter-less concept of Mizuya restaurant. You seat yourselves in small booths and order via the in booth touchscreen which is mounted on the side of the booth. It’s a pretty long menu, so you’ll flip through a bunch of pages trying to decide. Once done, you can pay from within the booth itself! There’s also a karaoke bar in the same venue, should you wish to go there afterwards…
8. Burger King, Japan
Burger King is an unusual addition to this list- seeing as it’s actually affordable- but hear me out. The Burger King branch in Roppongi has had a high tech makeover and you can now chow down on your fast food under a ‘musical shower’ in the booths. Large speaker nozzles are perched above each enclosure, and it will play whatever music is on your MP3 player that you slot into the wall charger. The idea is you have your personal sound spot and that the next booth get to enjoy their own tunes in privacy. I’m not sure I ever stay in Burger King long enough to enjoy an album, but hey- some might!
9. MOJO iCuisine Interactive Restaurant by Moxie Design in Taipei
The MOJO iCuisine restaurant is high tech eeverything. You start with a touchsreen table top menu (as seen at Inamo) and then move onto the use of the space- whereby the tabletop menu works by an overhead projection allowing both diners full access to view and the bar itself makes fairly free with light technology, from a colour changing bar to a smart menu system that records diners preferences and makes suggestion based on choices. You can order straight from your table, pay, change the tablecloth colour (playing is fun) and admire the projection lamps which were designed to look like ‘organic installations’.
10. Eyecandy Sound Lounge at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas
Las Vegas in known for being the birthplace of neon (in my mind anyways) and it’s no surprise they have a few high tech tricks up their sleeve. The tables in the lounge are touch screen- not to order from- but more so you can create pretty patterns that twist and shape both with your fingers and your drinks. You can do more than just make pretty patterns on the table- you can project them onto the screens above the dancefloor (think Zara hearts Vegas) and you can also adjust the audio volume in your area- a nice touch if you want to have some private tête-à-têtes.
The dancefloor is equipped with a colour changing sensor so you’ll have something pretty to watch and if you want to visit another high tech bar/dining place locally, Harrah’s casino is equipped with Microsoft Surface tables which let you order drinks and flirt with other users.
Have you been to a different high tech eaterie? Tell me all about it below!