The world’s first 3D restaurant had it’s debut in London and if you thought that not only was the food created with 3D printers along with the glasses, plates and cutlery if that wasn’t enough even the chairs were printed for the event.
Food Ink set up for 3 days only in a Shoreditch side street to showcase the versatility of 3D printing. During the day, the pop-up was opened as something of an exhibition space for the technology, where the public could see 3D printers and pens at work, and try some 3D printed snacks. At night, the pop-up became boutique restaurant, where 10 diners at a time paid £250 a head for a nine-course menu, 7 of which were 3D printed. The meal was made live in front of the guests as they got an education about the emerging field and the dish they were about to consume.
Dutch startup ByFlow supplies the machines used for printing food, while Barcelona-based BCN3D Technologies’ printers make the cutlery, using water-soluble supports to create knives and forks with clean lines and smooth surfaces. The restaurant’s pale, geometric stools and table legs are being created by architects Mamou-Mani, using a custom Grasshopper 3D program written with the furniture in mind and Hypecast’s Delta Tower printers.
The menu for the three evenings at the Shoreditch pop-up was created by Joel Castanye and Mateu Blanch, chefs at the Catalan restaurant La Boscana, and featured obliquely-named dishes including Cosmic Delight and Tetris Tapas.
First and foremost in their minds was food that tasted good, 3D or no 3D printing, the two chefs said: they wanted to capture the flavours of the fruits and vegetables of Catalonia in 3D printed form.
Their experiences of using food for 3D printing also began with experiments with chocolate, before progressing onto using foods like hummus whose textures lend themselves to being 3D printed. They even have a course in which the guests wear a VR headset to pair a visual experience with the food. We also got to smell a few of the aroma’s which they would perfume the air with during certain courses making every effort to offer a well rounded complete dining experience.
Food Ink has already had discussions with business from Singapore to Dubai about the possibility of setting up permanent 3D restaurants. Dobrzensky hopes to eventually open a chain of 3D printing concept-dining spots, in the model of themed chains like the Hard Rock Café, or Dans Le Noir.
The chain may take a while to open its doors, however, thanks largely to the pace of 3D printing technology development. Currently, 3D printing is just too slow and too expensive to allow the opening of a restaurant using the technology which is still accessible to consumers with mid-range budgets.
As the technology improves, the company plans to introducing a more wallet-friendly version of the pop-up nights, as well as continuing to offer 3D printed fine dining like the three nights in London.