Thursday, 18 September 2014

Food: Vapiano

If you follow me on twitter, you'll realise that I tend to rave a lot about a particular Italian restaurant by the name of Vapiano. It's a beautiful restaurant located globally, two of them being in London town. I go to the Southwark/London Bridge location (90B Southwark Street, London, SE1 0FD T: 020 7593 2010) more because its more convenient for me personally and I find that it tends to be less crowded than the other more central location which is just off Oxford Street (19-21 Great Portland Street, London, W1W 8QB T: 020 7268 0080).

Vapiano is an Italian restaurant with a twist. It serves your standard pizza, pasta and salad etc as you would expect from an Italian restaurant. The difference is that instead of a server attending your table, you go up to the relevant area (i.e. if you want pasta, you go to the pasta section, pizza section for the pizza etc) and watch it being cooked in front of your face! Neat eh?

The restaurant has different types of seating from couches to tables and chairs to high tables with stools and we opted for the latter. Find a table that fits your group, peruse over the menu and then head to the cooking area!

Oh, and the other difference is that when you arrive, you are presented with a black plastic card that has a maximum value of £50. Once you've chosen your dish, you "pay" by presenting your card to the till and pay the balance off at the end before you leave. Yes, there is the possibility of doing runners from the restaurant, but we're all good girls and boys so we wouldn't do that right? Good.

The best thing about this place? It is super cheap. I mean ridiculously. No dish costs more than a tenner and are categorised into groups according to prices so the cheapest you'll pay for a dish (e.g. funghi (that's mushroom to you and me) or pesto rosso (semidried tomatoes, tomato pesto, ricotta cheese, pine nuts) that comes in at £6.75. On the other hand, the most expensive dish for pasta is £9.75 for a scampi pasta or filetto di manzo e rucola (strips of beef tenderloin, mushrooms, rocket salad)) Let's face it, where can you get a filling meal for less than a tenner in London?

And not only do you get to choose the toppings you want, you also get to choose what type of pasta style you want to accompany the dish ranging from your standard spaghetti, penne, linguine and fusili to your pappardelle, conchiglie and campanelle. There's even spelt versions of the spaghetti and fusili for you healthy people!

It's exciting watching the chef cooking your food in front of you and it's a bit of a show really. The chefs always manage to cook two dishes for two people at the same time - talent or what? If you like it super spicy, they have freshly chopped chillis to hand which they can either add lots of or omit altogether depending on your taste buds.

Once it's all cooked, don't forget to pick up your cutlery (interestingly, there's no knives on offer at the pasta section - only forks and spoons), a glass (there's tap water on offer in a jug you use to top up your glass), order a drink if not opting for a water and a tray to carry it all on.

You also get free bread which can act as a starter or mop up leftover sauces from your dish. Each table comes with balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, chilli oil, fresh basil and pepper so what I tend to do is mix the balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil on the small plate and dip my bread in it - scrumptious!

I'll leave you with a picture of the pasta -

Have you been to Vapiano before?
Do you prefer pizza or pasta?
What's your favourite Italian restaurant in London?

Let me know in the comments below!


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