Friday, 1 March 2013

Vapiano Italian Restaurant - a review

Vapiano Italian Restaurant
Vapiano is a well-established European restaurant chain, but brand new to the UK, having only two outlets in London so far (one on Great Portland Street and one on Southwark Street/Bankside), so I felt privileged to be invited to sample their menu from a vegetarian view point.
"Vapiano is an innovative European concept serving made-to-order fire roasted pizzas, fresh, house-made pasta and hand tossed gourmet salads...Customers use a 'chip card' to personally order their food or drinks from the bar or from the individual fresh pizza, pasta or salad stations."  
We visited the Southbank restaurant to fit in with a trip to the Tate Modern (which is about five minutes' walk away). I wasn't too sure what to expect, but having viewed the menu online, I was pretty sure that we would all find something we liked. In total, I counted 7 vegetarian pizzas and 11 main course pasta dishes (some contain Parmesan which can be omitted on request), including 4 vegan pasta dishes. Young children are well catered for too, with a selection of pastas and pizzas in child-size portions (and at half the cost of adult meals).

It was lovely to have such a wide range of choice and to see our chosen meals being cooked in front of our very eyes! The great thing about Vapiano, is that everything is prepared as you wait, so if you don't want Parmesan cheese on your pasta, or if you fancy a vegan pizza with some extra mushrooms, you can get exactly what you want. The pizza bases and pasta are both made freshly each day on the premises and are both suitable for vegans; What's more, their prices are exceptional value (especially for London) as all of their main course pizza and pasta dishes cost between  £6.75-£9.75.
"The name Vapiano is from the Italian proverb: Chi va piano va sano e va lontano. This translates as: People with a relaxed attitude, live a long and healthy life."
Vapiano don't accept bookings, so you turn up and sit where there's space; this may mean a short wait in the comfortable bar/lounge area, or may involve sharing a table with other customers. However, we dined at around 2.30pm after the lunch time rush and had no problem in finding a free table all to ourselves. On arrival, each customer is given a chip card so you can all order and pay individually, if required. You take the chip card up to the appropriate counter and swipe it to order your food. The food is then cooked freshly to order...the only downside I can see to this, is that the pasta dishes are prepared faster than the pizzas can cook, so some of you may have your food before others.

A selection of vegetarian dishes from Vapiano Italian Restaurant
Our main course pasta dishes were ready in a few minutes, while Miss Kahonie's pizza took a few minutes longer, however this wasn't a problem for us, as it gave us time to try each other's dishes. The pasta was al dente and each dish tasted distinctly different (not always the case for vegetarian dishes in other Italian restaurants!). The pizza had an authentically thin and crispy base and was generously topped.
We all really enjoyed our meals and Miss Kahonie said that her pizza was one of the best she'd ever tasted.

Although all of the main course portions were very generous, we felt it would be rude to leave without sampling a dessert or two! Unfortunately, the menu is not marked with a 'v' to indicate vegetarian dishes, and we were a little disappointed to find that about half of the desserts contained gelatine. I must admit that the desserts we chose, weren't up to the same standard as the main courses, but were perfectly adequate and at £3 each certainly wouldn't break the bank.

One of the nicest things about the restaurant (apart from the food) was not being rushed by waiting staff. As you order your own food when you're ready to, you can leave a gap between each course and order when ready to, or if you're in a rush, order straight away and have your food on the table in a matter of minutes.

I will certainly be recommending Vapiano to friends and family, and really hope that they'll be opening up a branch near me in the near future!

Integrity Statement
I received free meal for 4 at Vapiano. I did not receive payment, and was not required to write a positive review in return. The views expressed are genuinely those of myself and my family.

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1 comment:

  1. Wow! Such a great Italian Restaurant review. Thanks for sharing this to us and keep posting!


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