Monday, July 13, 2015

Vapiano, 10th June

A few of my friends had already been to Vapiano and were quite excited for me when I was invited along to review it. I knew nothing of the concept except that it was Italian food. But I do now, and I like it!

It’s a sort of hybrid fast food joint/restaurant – a bit like Nando’s in that you can be in and out within about half an hour if you want, or you can make it a more leisurely meal if you so fancy.

You enter and are given a card and then you place your order at the relevant stations and load up your card. When you’ve finally decided you’ve finished your meal, you take the card and pay for what you’ve eaten.

Everything is cooked before your eyes – hence the ‘fresh’ bit. You have your usual choices of pizza or pasta or something from the oven and you can customize the dishes if you want. Each pasta dish for example allows you to choose the type of pasta you want.
We started with something from the antipasti and salad bar. My friend and I shared a bruschetta and also ordered the special salad of the day, which upon reflection was meant to be a main rather than a starter. It was huge and full of potato and asparagus which was very tasty but also very filling. We barely made a dent in it. The bruschetta was also a jumbo portion. It was a fairly decent specimen of bruschetta – juicy and fresh tomatoes topped with fat slabs of mozzarella.
We found it hard to choose which pasta dish to go for so we had one each and split them. My contribution was carbnoara made with tagliatelle. I actually have thought about this carbonara several times since because I enjoyed it so much! Strictly speaking it was not made the traditional way, as it had cream in it but I am happy to screw tradition to go with what tastes good. We even added chillies as we are such charlatans. We also had the salami and ricotta with rucola which I thought would be my favourite but while it tasted good enough, I kept going back to the carbonara.

We were stuffed to the gills but with quite a bit of persuasion from the host we ordered dessert as well. They do mini versions so we had a mini panna cotta and then we had a normal sized black forest gateau without the cherries. These didn’t have quite the same homemade taste to them, and if I were eating here again I would either skip dessert or go across the road to Princi.

Prices are really good – almost all the mains are under a tenner, with the simplest combination only being £7.00 so it really makes for a cheap but filling dinner. It’s really perfect for when you’re not looking to ‘eat out’ per se, but you’re out and want something to eat. Great concept.

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I work as an editor in educational publishing by day, and then spend most of my spare time discovering interesting things to do in London, and taking people there with my own Meetup.