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Would you like to be served by a robot waitress?

Last updated on: September 11, 2019 11:45 IST

Bengaluru's new space-themed restaurant isn't shy about revealing its star (and arguably only) attraction, says Nikita Puri.

Robot restaurant, Bengaluru

IMAGE: The Robot restaurant, Bengaluru. All photographs: Kind courtesy Robot restaurant

The only time you see her eyes light up is when she talks. Literally.

They shine like red crescent moons in a sea of black void.

But there are many, many remarkable features about Arya.

Byron's 'She walks in beauty, like the night' describes her perfectly.

It also holds true for Arya's sisters -- Sansa (another Game Of Thrones reference), Zoey, Alice, Ramya and the unnamed sister who stands guard outside.

Employed as waiters, the sisters are the star attraction at Bengaluru's sparkly new restaurant, Robot.

The name doesn't leave anything to one's imagination: the waiters are robots.

 

Located in upmarket Indira nagar in Bengaluru, the restaurant's decor is as futuristic as it gets.

If the stark black-and-white play of light and colour wasn't enough, there's also a mini rail track that runs beside every table.

It stays unseen and ignored, since all eyes are fixed on the robots, till a toy bullet train comes rolling down the track, carrying a plate of starters or a serving of complimentary mango salad.

 

Robot restaurant, Bengaluru. Photograph: Kind corutesy https://robotrestaurant.in

Founded by Venkatesh Rajendaran, the first Robot restaurant was launched in Chennai in 2017, followed by one in Coimbatore last year.

Bengaluru is the third, but it's certainly not the last.

The reception it has received already amounts to more publicity than it has got in the other cities and the opening of a second Robot this year in Chennai indicates the viability of the enterprise.

The restaurant will open in Riyadh too (yes, Saudi Arabia), and its promoters are open to more franchise bids.

The restaurant's entire premise is built around its robot residents: some diners weren't even sure what food to expect when they walked in (Indo-Asian may be one way of describing it).

It isn't often that the genesis of a restaurant chain is so marked by the sheer absence of any conversation around food.

A Thai curry encapsulates comfort, and we asked for the seafood version.

One thing's for sure: here, you get exactly what you ask for.

Robots give you robots, and the seafood curry means you don't get any greens. Or coloured peppers.

Narrowing down what to eat from a tablet placed on every table can be a troublesome affair, especially considering how extensive it seems -- it features every generic dish from every generic Indian restaurant.

But diners seem willing to adapt; after all, the restaurant's got robots (If you're really having trouble with excess technology, there's a 'call waiter' option, which brings forth Arya's human counterparts).

With scarves around their necks and trays attached to outstretched hands, the robotic ladies glide around in a straight line.

They are also equipped with face recognition technology, meaning if you stop by the restaurant a second time, Arya can recognise you.

But the technology, which raises some valid privacy concerns, hasn't been activated yet.

 

Robot restaurant, Bengaluru

The future now officially walks among us. But, by the looks of what's going down at the Robot restaurant, we may not quite be ready for it.

If the robots ever do become our overlords (conspiracy theory alert), this is likely the time they'd rewind back to when they want to avenge themselves.

Aliens have, for a long time, been accused of abducting humans to do some light prodding, but things aren't very different on Planet Earth where their human counterparts do the same to their robot waiters.

The robots are polite.

"Excuse me, you are in my way, can you please make a route for me," they say any time there's a human on their path.

Diners then ground themselves further, calling family to join them for selfies.

If not for these fine ladies zooming around on conveyor belts, waiting to be tapped on the head after they bring you your order, Robot could have come and gone without leaving a mark on your culinary calendar.

A meal for two costs Rs 1,400.

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Nikita Puri
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