If you’re looking for an out of this world Japanese food experience in Bangkok, we think there is only one place to visit – the Hajime Robot Restaurant! This restaurant is not only known for its tasty food, but for the dancing Samurai robots – produced in Japan and developed by Thai engineers, these amazing machines are there for your entertainment and to serve your food! We think this place is a great place for families with kids or sci-fi /technology loving adults (like us!) looking for a quirky evening out.
As you may have guessed at Hajime Robot Restaurant in Bangkok the food is served by robot waiters. Every man’s dream since Rocky 4? But despite the unique and novelty value of this robot restaurant we do keep going back. Obviously not for the robot (as cute as it is) but for the food. Hajime Robot Restaurant is one of the few restaurants we bother leaving Sukhumvit for… but before we talk about the food, first them adorable robot waiters.
Among mankind’s many pastimes these days, eating meat and watching robots dance must surely rank among our favorites. But what would happen if the two were combined? Bangkokians can now rejoice for the answer is neatly tucked away on the third floor of the Monopoly Park plaza in Rama 3.
Hajime Robot Restaurant may not be the intergalactic, mind-warping experience the world has been waiting for, but as far as Bangkok goes, it’s pretty damn close.
At first glance, the restaurant looks like any other Japanese shabu and barbecue joint, with rows of neat cubicles where hotpots steam and grills sizzle.
At Hajime, you are shown by the helpful staff how to order your food using an intuitive touch screen system. The touch screen is easy to use and there is plenty of choice – in fact Hajime has over 100 dishes on offer and a few different menus, from a Japanese BBQ Buffet (499 Baht per person) and Shabu Buffet (359 Baht per person), to a traditional Japanese Sushi selection. You simply scroll through the menu, make your choice, and then send the instructions off to the robots.
The Hajime Robot Waiters
Each table at Hajime Robot Restaurant has a touch screen monitor to scroll through menus, choose foods and send instruction to the robot. Within minutes the robot will arrive to your table, to hand over goods through a window next to it. The robot waiters zip along a track between tables and after passing through trays they then disappear to the back kitchen for the next order. When you have finished with empty plates stack them back on the tray and the robot comes to collect. Note if you leave full plates at the window the robot may also take them so be quick to grab your orders. When not rushed off its tracks the robot waiter will dance to sugary K-Pop Music (video below) or if you’re unlucky Gangnam Style.
the robots would freely drive or walk around in the restaurant and you could jump in front of them, to see how they react, were not fulfilled.
Instead they run on a track inside a 10 metre long glass corridor. But hey, therefore they can dance: About every 30 minutes they perform a dance show by moving their arms randomly and rotating around their axis. The best was one of the younger visitors: A girl – about three years old – was keenly watching their dance and imitating their arm movements.
There are two of these glass corridors, hence two robots – one of them a Samurai, the other one definitely resembling a female one – and around them the rectangular tables assorted in a typical Japanese cubicle restaurant style.
It’s Japanese style and yummy. You can either choose to do individual orders or take the Shabu (boiling soup) or BBQ set (they call the sets “buffet” although the robot will serve you). Both these sets also include several Sushi dishes to be ordered. The sets are “all you can eat” and will cost you 499 Baht net per person. In my opinion it’s a good deal considering the extra entertainment you have with the robots.
The buzz: This is modern Japanese fare with a bold, futuristic gimmick. Instead of human waiters, Hajime has a human-like robot taking over serving duties. And that’s not all: even the menu is computer-based, meaning the diners can order directly from the touch-screen device attached to every single table. When there is no order lining the cue, the robot stars as the eatery’s entertainer, dancing to Asian pop music.
The décor: With grayish dark brown and some yellowish white tones, the place feels both and Japanese. In the center of the space, a glass-covered aisle is where the robot goes back and forth between the kitchen and the tables to serve the dishes.
The food: Although the robot might be where the spotlight shines, another enticement is a 145-minute buffet, featuring sukiyaki and shabu. With a wide selection of meats like wagyu, pork sirloin, rib eye, brisket beef, bottom beef and lamb chop, you can choose between a first-class buffet set, or a business-class buffet set. Kurobuta, salmon, seashells and shrimp are also available, but limited to the first class offer only. On top of that, the buffet includes a vegetable set, choices of rice, yasai itame (sautéed assorted vegetables), standard sushi, and maki rolls. There is a BBQ (non-buffet) menu available upon request.
The drinks: The buffet offers unlimited drinks like green tea, iced lemon tea or iced Nescafe, but if you prefer something fancier, try the green tea or vanilla smoothies. There is also a selection of cold and hot sakes like Ginjo Nama or Daiginjyo. For beer, the classic Asahi is available.
The crowd: Groups of colleagues dining after work. And since there is a big fancy robot in the house,you’ll see plenty of families with children on a weekend outing.