The world’s first automated pasta robot prepares a meal in 45 seconds

Marunouchi is the main business district near Tokyo Station. While busy business people have countless choices for lunch, E Vino Spaghetti, which opens on Thursday, caters to people with very little time for a lunch break. It is operated by Pronto Corporation, famous for the Pronto pasta chain, and other local restaurants such as Di Punto and Illy Caffe.

However, E Vino Spaghetti is no ordinary restaurant. It uses the world’s first automated pasta cooking robot, developed in collaboration with TechMagic Inc.

Photo: Pronto Corporation

TechMagic is creating a new food infrastructure using cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence machine learning and robotics. After four years of development, the world’s first pasta cooker P-Robo makes its debut.

P stands for Pronto and it is their fourth generation machine. What’s most unique is that it even washes pots on its own, reducing human labor and prep time, cooking up to 90 meals per hour.

Pronto and TechMagic envision sustainable food infrastructure and attempt to address human resource development issues in the restaurant industry facing an unprecedented labor shortage. Rising labor costs are the biggest expense in the food industry.

P-Robo cooks in a specially developed frying pan using high power induction, where skilled cooking techniques are automated as well as simple tasks performed. Additionally, the reduced workforce also helps make store operations safer by avoiding crowded kitchens, an essential hygiene measure against the coronavirus.

Only the final touches such as adding toppings are done by human hands, but all other tasks are prepared by P-Robo. I had my doubts at first about a pasta cooker, but surprisingly it was done al dente and the sauce came together perfectly. AI-based image recognition technology is used to understand the status of pasta ingredients. It’s simply amazing that all eight types of pasta on the menu can be cooked in just 45 seconds apart.

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Photo: Pronto Corporation

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Photo: Mai Shoji

My favorite is the “Japanese Herb Steamed Chicken, mizuna” (¥800) pasta topped with chicken breast, yoga, shiso and garden mustard. Halfway through, I advise you to sprinkle some condiments, such as yuzukosho oil, especially freshly ground oil sansho (Japanese pepper) – a very rare, but aromatically fun condiment. Another delight is “Aglio e Olio shrimp, tomato, argula” (¥900).

“E Vino”, which means with wine in English, is pronounced “Ebino” in Japanese while ebi means shrimp. This is why some dishes contain shrimp.

Pinchos such as “Soy Sauce Marinated Cream Cheese (¥380)” and Seard Atsuage Tofu ~Truffle Flavored~ (¥400)” pair well with wine. Their collection of Sicilian wines is impressive. Although the pasta is prepared quickly , you can stay as long as you want, enjoying the accompanying menus.

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Photo: Pronto Corporation

Various items on the menu, with the exception of the pasta, are hand-cooked, such as the chicken and avocado salad which is likely to be popular among health-conscious consumers. The Salad Bank at the entrance of the restaurant presents various salads to take away in very Instagrammable black carrying bags.

The Flying Pasta Dishes logo on staff uniforms is also Instagrammable. And the interior is a hybrid of low-tech and high-tech. The wooden pillars are transported remnants of early Showa-era houses. Marks of traditional Japanese woodworking techniques are evident on the ferns, cypress and cedar, and they exude a relaxing natural aroma.

Looks like it will become a perfect pit stop for lunch and a great meeting place for Marunouchi oenophiles after work. The U-shaped counter and tables can accommodate 32 people.

E Vino Spaghetti thinks about the future to expand abroad. “I would also like to bring P-Robo to different countries,” says Yuji Shiraki, President and CEO of Techmagic.

E Vino Spaghetti

Location: Marunouchi Building B1F, 2-4-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo

Hours: 11:00 a.m. ~ 10:30 p.m.

Holidays: According to the establishment

Ing: @e_vino_spaghetti

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