Restaurants nowadays are trying to provide new experiences to their customers with unique concepts and experimental dishes. Tanoshii Trail is one such restaurant
Situated in Greater Kailash-1, M-Block Market, Tanoshii Trail is Delhi’s first “automated restaurant”. It is the brainchild of Mukund Bansal, Vivek Agarwal and Gaurav Kumar. This three-month-old entrant in the restaurant scene of Delhi has made a name for its pan-Asian offerings as well.
To get a first-hand experience of this concept, I visited the restaurant earlier this week. So how do you place and receive your order in an automated restaurant? Every table has a tablet where you can feed your order, request customisations and even cancel your order. The feedback is given via the tab as well.
In this kitchen-to-table service, food arrives on the bot and a conveyor belt adjacent to the tables. This setup has been imported from Malaysia and runs through the centre of the restaurant with tables on both sides. The conveyor belt carries colour-coded bowls—yellow for salad; and green and red for vegetarian and non-vegetarian varieties of sushi and dim sums. The dim sums are placed on heating stands.
All the items have stickers with names of the dishes which one can pick, while they wait for the dish they have ordered. As per the choice of the dish, one is billed accordingly. I picked up Crystal Dim Sum, perfectly cooked, from the conveyor belt.
As for the actual order placed via the tab, the bot carries it and stops next to the table and says “Please pick up your order”. I had ordered Cheung Fun which was brought to me by the bot. To avoid the confusion of which side’s order it is, a light blinks on the correct side of the table. The diner then has to pick up the dish and press a button on his side to send the bot back.
What if someone needs assistance with all this? The moment you walk in the door, you are asked whether you are familiar with the concept or want some assistance. Once that’s established, you can have a dining experience to your own liking.
Mukund Bansal, Director of Tanoshii Trail told us about the concept of the restaurant. He said, “We are giving our customers their private space. They can just walk in and order from the tab. They don’t need a service guy to intervene. But if you need assistance, they are there to help you. But if you don’t, they won’t bother you. So it’s an experience where you are not dependent on anyone to bring you food at a restaurant.”
The interior décor of the restaurant sets the mood for having a hearty Asian meal. There are wall murals and handcrafted paintings symbolising oriental flares. Even though the restaurant’s furnishing is bright, the venue has a very relaxing vibe. This pan-Asian restaurant serves exotic dishes from various regions of South East Asia. The cuisines include Asian, Japanese, Thai, Malaysian and Chinese. Executive Chef Robert Lepcha was roped in to curate the restaurant’s menu.
On how the restaurant came into existence, Bansal said, “Initially, we were thinking of opening a lounge in Delhi. We researched how to pursue the idea for about three-four months and searched for locations. But somehow things did not work out. So it occurred to me that why not open something unique. I thought Asian cuisine is picking up in Delhi. People are trying different kinds of food. So might as well do it. We all brainstormed and decided to open a pan-Asian cuisine restaurant. But there are a lot of restaurants serving that cuisine. Our another partner Gaurav, who is from Hong Kong told us that there is a sushi place in Hong Kong where everything gets delivered through a conveyor belt. After that we connected with the guys who deliver such products and we came up with this setup. We also included an addition to the bot.”
Tanoshii Trail has an expansive menu including a variety of soups, salads, dim sums, sushi, hosomaki, futomaki, nigiri and uramaki. They serve amazing signature dishes like pancakes—Peking Duck, Si Chuan Style Lamb etc, La Mian, Hot and Sour Peanut, Chicken, Seafood Laksa. The restaurant also offers a diverse range of crispy rice and stone wok, vegetables and beancurd dishes. It is also the only restaurant in Delhi which serves Fruit Sushi. The dish is definitely worth a try.
The dessert section at the venue stands out with dishes like Betel Leaf Fried Ice Cream, Yin and Yang Brownie, Cheese Frushi among many others. Their beverage menu involves in house creations that are also at par with Asian flavours and blends—Thai Twister Shake, Tanoshi Style Beer, Tom Yum Martini—a spicy mocktail which I really liked, among others on the menu.
As for the challenges in bringing such a different concept, Bansal says, “Educating the customers about the concept is important. But we have received positive feedback since we opened our doors. Another thing is that kids get so excited when they see the setup. At times handling them is difficult. But it’s okay. We always wanted to maintain that it’s a family restaurant.”