Review: 40296 Build Your Meal

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View image at flickr

The LEGO House officially opens today and if you visit you may come home with one of these polybags, 40296 LEGO House Build Your Meal.

It contains a seemingly random selection of parts that don't build anything in particular. However, as you might guess from the set's name, they have another use...


The parts inside are provided so you can build your meal, or rather order it, at the Mini Chef restaurant on the ground floor of the the LEGO House.

Here's the menu. Each part in the bag represents a menu item.

View image at flickr

169DKK is £20 or US$26, so it's not a cheap meal by any means, but then eating out in Denmark never is.

At the table you'll find the bag of bricks and a 'cassette' built from LEGO along with your knife and fork. There's also a tablet mounted at the end of the table into which the cassette is inserted once you've built your meal.

View image at flickr

So, how do you order? Simply snap together the four bricks representing the meal you want, or if you're undecided you could choose one of the minifig favourite combinations shown on the back of the menu.

The relative positioning of the parts is not critical: they can be connected any way you like.

View image at flickr

When you've made your choice, you mount the four parts on the cassette and slide it into the hole at the bottom of the box.

Here's Gaetan from LCC constructing his order. Look like he's gone for the fried codfish and soba noodles...

View image at flickr

Once you've inserted the cassette, the machine interprets your order and asks you to confirm it. 10 minutes or so later the tablet announces the arrival of your meal and you can watch it being delivered from the kitchen in a box down the spiral conveyer at the back of the counter before these robotic guys push it towards the front for you to collect.

View image at flickr


Video

New Elementary's video shows the the ordering process much better than I can describe it:


Verdict

The polybag: Nothing special but a unique memento of your visit to the house. If there's more than one of you dining and you want to keep some sealed, just open one of them. If everyone in your party wants to go home with a sealed one, take the appropriate bricks from your collection with you! The inventory is here. Note that the inverted slopes must be for future expansion of the menu as they are not used at the moment.

The dining experience: Ordering is innovative and fun, typical of every experience in the House. Food is delivered in a 4 compartment stacking box with studs on (what else...) which is cool, but does make actually eating it more difficult than it should be. I didn't think to take photos of mine, but here's one from ACPin on Facebook:

View image at flickr

The food: It could have been better. I didn't order the same as ACPin: I had the red 1x2 slope, blue 1x2, green 1x4 and black 1x1. The fried items had been standing for a while so were not as good as they could and, frankly, should have been, for the price of the meal. Maybe once throughput in the kitchen increases the food quality will too.

View image at flickr

Overall then, it's not a cheap polybag to obtain but it does of course come with food which is handy if you're at the house all day! If you're lucky, the waitress will give you a 40295 LEGO House Chef for your collection, too.

It's a restaurant experience like no other and one you have to try when you visit, despite the price. You can eat there without paying to enter the house's experience zones should you wish.

You can book a visit from the house's official website.

34 comments on this article

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By in Australia,

Yeah, but ... do you get to keep the Lego afterwards?

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By in Italy,

^ yes, but opened

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By in Australia,

What are the bodies of those robots made of? Galidor parts? Transformers? That's pretty weak if they couldn't think up a pure Mindstorms solution to simply push something a few centimetres.

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By in Norway,

really cool, but the sound effects are a little unnecessary!

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By in Belgium,

i've seen the robots in use somewhere else (on the internet) I think, so they're not LEGO designed. Maybe something Mindstorms+Technic could have worked, but I'd assume they would be less reliable than these industrial things...

I thought the whole experience was quite fun, and the food was not that bad... Will definitely go eat there again when I go back to the House, with my family!

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By in United Kingdom,

I wonder how many people go hungry just so they can keep the packet sealed.

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By in Ireland,

@Brainslugged I assume people will start bringing their own bricks having read this article. :)

I just need to work out the combination for a burger and fries.

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By in Luxembourg,

@gunther.schnitzel The Mini Chef restaurant is actually one of the few places in Billund that does *not* serve burgers ;)

(nor that other Billund staple, pizza)

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By in United Kingdom,

I was told the extra slopes were used for the hungrier Lego employees when they were working on the construction of the house and wanted a bit more to eat, so the slopes gave them additional items.

Going back in mid-November with my eldest son, having been there last month for the Friday test day.

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By in United Kingdom,

I guess the House has numerous ways of fleecing the willing public, including this.

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By in Germany,

For what you pay that food looks, shall we say, quite "basic".
If our cantina at work served that kind of food for such money, there would be an uprising or even revolution.
;-)

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By in Netherlands,

Good to see the lid for the food tray has the studs on top. Eating from SNOT sounds horrendous :)

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By in United Kingdom,

^^ Maybe it should be "classic" rather than basic as they appear to be referencing 1970s food.

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By in Canada,

That's pretty cool.

What's the strategy to getting a Chef Poly? Do you have to tip generously, along with your expensive meal?

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By in United States,

@JPKuiper that's hilarious! Sounds like a cool novelty but way too expensive for food that I wouldn't want to eat (I've always been a picky kid). Mustard seeds on mashed potatoes, chives mayo on fries, baked garlic mayo on fried chicken, and greens and warm greens as half the meal? Count me out. For 26.00 I want a big, juicy, excellent cut of steak, proper mashed potatoes, and just enough greens to add color to the steak :) Would love to visit The Lego House, but w/cost of airfare, time off from work, hotel, etc. it's just not possible. So a big thanks to Brickset for giving me a chance to see it. I look forward to future The Lego House articles (please!)

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By in United States,

As a bit of a picky eater I feel like I definitely wouldn't get my money's worth at this restaurant, but that's more on me than the quality of the food. It's a shame because the novelty of the experience seems really cool and I'd probably be able to enjoy even a mediocre, overpriced meal at a restaurant like this if it were all types of food that I was comfortable eating. But if I'm only likely to enjoy half of it… I might be better off just bringing some snacks in a backpack from home and getting an actual meal elsewhere later on. :(

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By in United Kingdom,

More importantly...... where are the dessert / pudding options? Seem to get 2 varieties of vegetables instead (Greens and Warm Greens). Does have a vegetarian option but no vegan one; not that either bothers me per se. Wonder how well it will cope on a busy day with 1/2 the people endlessly phaffing around trying to work out the ordering system and the other 1/2 milling around waiting to collect their meal.

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By in Serbia,

@LegoSolo - $26 will not get you a steak anywhere in Denmark. In fact, last year I paid that much for a decent burger and fries. I was even charged for tap water in the Fritidscenter where SFW takes place a few years ago.

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By in United States,

For those who are picky eaters, it's not a must to eat at the mini-chef - there are two other options available. There's a place (called Brickaccino) that offers paninis and some other basic items but doesn't have the cool option of building your meal. It is a bit less expensive....

I share Huw's thoughts (probably because I was sitting next to him at lunch) - though I dashed off right after ordering so I could attend a session, so my food was a bit cold by the time I got back to it. Mine was fine, though I thought it was a LOT of food. I coudn't hardly finish half of it. (I must be a picky eater as well, since none of the "warm greens" options tempted me much.)

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By in United States,

If the ordering and delivery system is automated, why have waiters/waitresses?

What about drinks and (possibly) dessert? Is that provided thru self-serve vending stations, or maybe that's what the waiters are for?

I don't tip robots, not when having to gather my order myself.

Fun novelty and interesting menu that looks worth trying at least once. The whole experience of the visit would be lacking if you skipped the opportunity to sample such an unique restaurant.

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By in United Kingdom,

Drinks are ordered separately on the machine and brought to the table by a real human waiter/waitress.

I don't think tipping is generally expected in Denmark as everyone is paid properly to start with.

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By in United Kingdom,

@bricklunch - there was a human explaining how to create and place order, I can't remember how many seats there were but I guess they can cope with full capacity easily. The screen at your table tells you when to go and collect your order.

I enjoyed all the different options I selected, but then I'll eat anything! Going to try different options when I go back.

Drinks turned up almost immediately when ordered. Only problem was with paying, teething troubles but suppose that's why they had the test days.

Overall, it's a fun novelty experience for ordering something to eat and beats having a boring cafe there with more seats.

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By in United Kingdom,

@Caterham7 - Thanks for the clarification. Reminds me of the self-service facilities where they replace the person who serves you with the person who now explains how you serve yourself. It won't surprise me if, in the fullness of time, it begins to resemble the system they have at Ikea, albeit retaining the brick-based ordering. There is no real reason in a high-throughput canteen that the food can't be delivered quicker even if the customers chooses to take a long time to order as they are playing with their ordering system; which at least makes a change to playing with your food.

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By in United Kingdom,

So many picky eaters on Brickset - who'd have thought it? I really like to experiment with my food and try new things - particularly local cuisine to the country I'm in. I actually want to avoid burgers and chips at all costs if I know I can get something else that's at least a little authentic without paying a fortune.

Although from the review it definitely sounds like it's worth trying the Mini Chef once for the experience and to test the waters, there are plenty of other options out there for food. I personally found that the best authentic 'Scandi-cuisine' in town is actually at the Hotel Propellen near the main Legoland Billund gates. If you like some comfort pizza though, there are a good handful of cafes frequented by the designers and other Lego employees in the centre of town offering just that, plus steaks!

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By in United Kingdom,

Thought it would be accompanied with BURPS!

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By in Canada,

Funny: All the Americans complaining about the lack of steak, burgers, and fries. Umm... Hello? Last I checked, the lego house is nowhere near the United Snakes of Arrestobia. Or... as I say, "when in Rome, do as the Romans do". The food offered at the house is very typically European, which is what I would expect when in Europe. For all you "merricans", just be glad the food is NOT what what you would find at home, enjoy your experience, and, well, bon appetit

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By in Denmark,

It is only children who gets a 40295 LEGO House Chef. I was there to day

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By in Norway,

@ ggfile: This seems little to do with 'Murica or not (it's not like most Europeans uses that much veggies either) and more about Lego's obsession with a healthy lifestyle. I saw a documentary about Lego a while ago, mentioning how they'd removed most snack/soda vending machines and color-codes cantina food to "encourage" the employees to select healthy alternatives (which frankly would make me a bit reluctant about working for the company even if I'd ever gotten the chance). A generation ago it was common for the Danish to have a beer or two for lunch, it seems like those days are long gone.

It doesn't really help that the served meals resembles hospital or airline food, and the lack of flexibility (*one* piece of each color) makes the whole "build your meal" thing seem a bit gimmicky. BTW, what happens if someone fails to attach the pieces properly in the tray, will they fall off inside the machine so the next customer has to use their knife to scoop them out?

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By in United States,

Cool... I don't think I'll be eating that brick meal, though... I will... well, guess I might as well cut it short to this.

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By in United Kingdom,

Hi I have allergies (gluten,milk etc) so I was wondering how that works? Does anybody know? ??

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By in Denmark,

^Like every other places in DK: You simply ask the staff when they come an introduce you to the menu. ??
There is no bricks to indicate allergies, though, so they might bring it out manually..

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By in Germany,

Just sharing my experience there:

Ordering was fun but everything after was not that great of an experience for us. We ordered the food and when we wanted to collect it, the machine had broken down. My brother got his food from the machines about 5 minutes later but my food apparently crashed in the elevator. So I had to wait for them to make it again which was brought to the table. By then my brother's food was cold, especially the fries which we got replaced quickly.
The food itself was meh and I am NOT a picky eater. Why do you feel the need to serve fries with lemon thyme? And garlic mayo? And cauliflower with truffle oil? That restaurant is supposed to be the family restaurant. The food should reflect that and be "normal". That might get the food pricing down to normal prices, too.
When we were ready to pay, we clicked the button in the computer. Apparently that didn't work either. We had 3 different people walk by and ask us if we wanted to pay. Yes, we said. 3 times. In Euros. Cash. It took them a while to figure that out and because of the discount that was offered that day, they still got it wrong.
So yes, technical problems and problems in the beginning are absolutely fine and it would be unfair to base my whole opinion on that but all that just adds to the point that the food just isn't good and waaaayyy to expensive.

But having said that, the LEGO house in general is phenomenal and WAY better than what I expected!

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