Vapiano is the latest addition to the Corn Exchange in Manchester and complete with self service, chef interaction and the use of a smart card system to pay, Vapiano offers a truly unique dining experience. On arrival you receive a card which you use throughout your stay to keep track of what you have ordered and then you pay the calculated amount at the end. Not only does the process of scanning your card bring a touch of novelty to the meal but it also removes the hassle of splitting the bill at the end of the meal.
Instead of ordering through a waitress or waiter at Vapiano, once you have decided what you would like to eat you go up to one of the chef stations positioned around the restaurant and order directly to the chef. They will then proceed to make your chosen dish right there in front of you, giving you the freedom to ask for more or less cheese/garlic etc and creating the perfect meal. If you decide to go for pasta then you select your preferred sauce from the menu and then pair this with one of many options of pastas. There are so many different shapes and varieties to choose from that you probably weren’t even aware existed! Vapiano are brilliant at offering a fantastic range of choice and options. If you’re anything like me this meant it did take me a while to choose what I wanted.
Even better, the pastas take only 3 minutes to cook and the pizzas 8; there is no waiting around hungrily for your dish to arrive at Vapiano! It is really interesting watching your chef put your dish together and it’s a great way to get some ideas for cooking your own at home. I guess you could say Vapiano is like a high end fast food style restaurant, with the concept of ordering your meal at the counter, watching it being made and then receiving it just moment later. But the difference is, Vapiano food is fresh and nutrious and the restaurant you take your food back to is so nice. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly but the soft lighting and plant based decor makes it dress up worthy and you still feel as though you are enjoying a lovely meal out.
When we arrived at Vapiano we started with a drink to accompany us as we had a look through the menu so decide what we wanted. For started I went for the goats cheese and spinach salad complete with the most delicious raspberry vinaigrette. The sweet dressing complemented the cheese so well – think of a ‘brie and cranberry’ sort of combination. My guest went for the carpaccio which is thinly sliced beef, mushrooms, rocket and Parmesan and this was absolutely delicious. The meet and cheese was sliced so thinly that it gave the dish such a good texture.
I am a bit of a pasta-holic so of course went for this. I chose the crema de funghi sauce which is basically a creamy mushroom sauce. Along with brown fusilli pasta and Parmesan this made for a delicious dish of indulgent and much needed carby pasta – heaven. My guest went for a unique, she’ll shaped and cold pizza name Perla. It was so different to anything I had ever seen before and tasted amazing – almost like a huge sandwich.
The dessert menu at Vapiano is pretty impressive. Again I was stuck for choice but in the end I decided on the Bacio which is basically chocolate and hazelnuts blended on a biscuit base and topped with hazelnuts. If like me you love Nutella then this is going to make you very happy! My guest went for the Cioccolate Foresta Nera which was different coloured chocolate, Nutella and sponge fingers layered up and topped off with whipped cream. Again another brilliant dish for the Nutella lovers. Both desserts were very rich and delicious. We are our desserts along with a fragrant mint tea which was so nice. I love having something as refreshing as this alongside a chocolatey pudding.
Paying at the end of the meal was so easy as we had just scanned everything up on our cards. I think this concept would work so so well if you visited with a big group of friends and the large tables I’m the restaurant to accommodate for bigger groups again makes Vapiano ideal for this. I also think it would be perfect for first dates as the concept offers a brilliant talking point.
The unique and interactive concept of Vapiano is really a USP and something I think everyone needs to experience!