Robot - wood-fired pizza restaurant in Axminster
It’s official. Robot’s wood-fired cheeseburger pizza is the most disgustingly delicious pizza that has ever entered my mouth, complete with lashings of squeezy burger cheese, gherkins, mustard and crumbles of juicy beef. But then again, I haven’t yet worked my way through the other take-away mash-up offerings on the ‘Bonkers’ section of Axminster’s new pizza restaurant so I’ll have to return and try the Hoi Sin duck and the Hot Dog.
I write this in a complete carb coma after a successful Friday-night treat dinner with Andy and the girls – and seeing as Friday evening is traditionally a ropey slot for outings due to the post-school week behaviour nosedive, that’s saying something.
Robot has just opened its doors on the corner of Lyme Street in central Axminster, occupying the space that used to be the quirky but incredible dining-experience that was The Giant Club – a restaurant owned and run by the acclaimed chef Gideon Hitchin who was formerly right hand man to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall at River Cottage HQ. Now, Gideon has given the restaurant a complete makeover and new direction in the form of a brand-new pizza, ales and cocktails restaurant for Axminster, to eat-in or take away.
I love interesting food, and cocktails for that matter (not so much the ale, though Andy’s a fan) but since this is a blog about places suitable to take the kids I’ll focus on that for now. However I am already mentally booking myself in for a grown-up cocktail night in the near future as the cocktails were excitingly good in the days of The Giant Club and the new drinks menu looks pretty tempting.
Robot is a family-friendly affair with relaxed, informal and welcoming vibes. Best of all you can choose any pizza on the menu at a half size for the kids for only £5.50 each so dinner out was great value, and Gideon was only too happy to suggest some customisation to make sure the pizzas our girls chose were fully child-friendly (a little less chilli oil on the Piccante for one and hold the gherkins on the hotdog pizza for the other!)
You can more or less build your own pizza from the extra toppings list which would be exciting for more adventurous diners, but for those who want to play it safe there’s a good range of reliable family favourites done really well. A gluten-free base is available.
Happily, I can report that the pizza is not thin and flimsy (I resent the expensive yet floppy tortilla wrap style pizzas that you so often find at food fairs priced at a tenner a slice) – these are more at the luxury end of the pizza spectrum – a ‘proper’ handmade pizza portion with quality ingredients. Full-size pizzas range from £7.95 to £13.95, and you’re not going to be leaving hungry. I've linked to the menu here.
The restaurant offers desserts too from a specials board, though I’m afraid I was too stuffed to remember to look at it today so I’m not sure what was on offer - however that’s another good excuse for us to return!
One of the winning child-friendly factors about this restaurant is that it starts serving dinner from 5pm. 6’o-clock is usually too late for the kids at the moment as they turn into hangry and tired furious beasts around that hour so the early start is perfect for us.
On the subject of opening hours, the owner said that he was looking into developing the restaurant further by offering an after-school supper club and hire for kids’ birthday parties so guys, if you’re keen on this idea (or if you have any other thoughts), let him know! email@example.com
But if you’re just fancying some really good, really puffy / gooey /cheesy pizza (cooked in a proper, authentic wood-fired pizza oven for that slightly smoky charred lushness) you can always just pop in to pick up a take-away and devour at home in your pyjamas.
All in all a very welcome addition to Axminster’s range of independent restaurants and one to add to our child-friendly list of local eateries.
Robot is open Tuesday – Sunday (closed on Mondays) serving food from 5pm, closing at 9pm. Make sure you check out the special offer on Tuesdays: £10 for a pizza and a drink!