Edinburgh and Glasgow pre-opening recon!
One of the best bits of the blog is getting to visit restaurants as they move into an area. Vapiano are opening up in Edinburgh (Just off St Andrews Sq) and Glasgow (Buchanan Street) later this year so they wanted to introduce us to the Vapiano experience, in advance, by sending us down to London, just for the day to check out two of their existing restaurants!
A bit about them…
We’ve come across Vapiano on our travels but hadn’t made it in (as you can probably guess we often have a long list of restaurant recommendations on our trips!). Vapiano originates from Hamburg and have been operating since 2002 and can now be found in over 100 restaurants across 5 continents. As well as London, you can also currently find Vapiano in Manchester in the UK!
The atmosphere and decor are of the casual dining variety – it’s the kind of place where you can eat a little or a lot, visit for cake and a coffee or gab over a bottle of wine. A good all-rounder that should please most people. There’s a fair amount of vegetation indoors too – in addition to a real olive tree in both branches we visited (pun intended!), there are also basil and rosemary plants atop each table so you can add some extra herbs to your dish, or just enjoy the fresh aroma.
The menus are mostly the same at each location but there are a few minor differences, e.g. Great Portland St has a bigger bar/cocktail selection than Soho.
Click to see each Vapiano UK restaurant menu.
Once you enter the restaurant you are given a menu and a credit card-type card for charging your order to – these are capped at £50 per card so you can’t go OTT! Pick what you want from the menu and pick a cooking station – there’s pasta, pizza or salad.
We opted for pasta at first, so decide what type you’d like from the choice of 11! There are 8 regular varieties: linguine, spaghetti, tagliatelle, penne, campanelle, ravioli, fusilli and pappardelle; 2 made with spelt: spelt spaghetti and spelt fusilli; and 1 for kids which are aeroplane-shaped! All their pasta is made fresh daily and it’s egg-free, and therefore, vegan-friendly!
You can also add extra bits to your order if you’re REALLY hungry.
Or order something from their specials menu, Lynsay picked the Risotto Zucca which was a creamy seasonal veggie risotto. 👌
Go slowly = a novel concept in fast food!?
Once you’ve decided what you want then this is the bit that I’m sure will be a bit unusual for folks. Standing watching your dinner being cooked. It’s made fresh and quick, and there are two chefs per station, but…if there’s more than two of you it might feel a bit strange as you’ll all be eating your dinner at slightly separate times. However, this is fast/casual dining and is ideal for a quick lunch/dinner before a gig, shopping or for when you just can’t be bothered with the whole formal dining idea!
Under your watchful eye, your chosen pasta is heated super fast and goes into a wok-like pan along with the other ingredients so you can see the dish being made from scratch right before your eyes so you will attest to the freshness!
So what does Vapiano mean? Well, it’s a concatenation of the Italian for “go” (va) and “slowly” (piano). If you look on the backs of the menus and the payment cards you’ll find the phrase “Chi va piano, va sano e va lontano”, or in English, “If you have an easy-going and relaxed approach to life, you’ll live more healthily and longer.” In addition to the pasta, the sauces are made on site too, so surely this is a fast food restaurant that the slow food movement can endorse?
We ordered a Pappadalle Carbonara (£9.85) and a Campanelle Salame Piccante (£10.95), a spicy salami, onion and tomato sauce dish with the surprise inclusion of fresh figs! I wouldn’t normally ask for figs with my pasta but this tasted alright! Both were deceptively large portions. If you’re looking for other unique dishes they also have a dish called Estiva, which is chicken with ginger, chilli and mint!
We dipped into everyone else’s bowls as well, to get a taste of all the dishes ordered at our table. Luckily we are all buddies or it would’ve been a nope!🙅
Next, we tried the pizza station and here we have a Fiorentina (and not a Florentine as we called it oops!). A crisp base with a chewy, crust topped with olives, anchovies, spinach, Grana Padano DOP cheese and an egg (£10.95). 🍕 This was a very tasty pizza, but not quite as amazing as the Neapolitan style that’s all the rage in Glasgow right now. 👍
We also had some room to try a few slices of the Barbecue chicken pizza (£10.85). This comprised of chicken breast, BBQ sauce, onions, smoked cheese, tomato sauce and mozzarella.
Next up dessert! Would we have space after all that food? Of course we would, we are professionals! 😂 The kitchen brought out ALL the desserts! 😱 This called for a spoonful and pass it on strategy. It was the best pass the parcel game ever!
Most of the desserts are creamy in nature and served in glasses or Kilner-style airtight jars. The exceptions to this are the baked cheesecake (a REAL cheesecake so Mr Foodie was very happy!) and an Italian chocolate cake.
Our faves were the Cioccolata Foresta Nera and the Cioccolata Bianca. 😘 They were all worthy of a spoonful, or two. Sadly we were too full for any more!
What an afternoon! We were all stuffed full and ready for a lie down, if only we had a teleporter to take us back to Glasgow!
So look out Edinburgh and Glasgow, Vapiano are on their way!
Disclaimer: Many, many thanks to Vapiano for taking us all the way to London for food. Fred sez he was a bit grumpy when he heard about this as he’s never been to London and he had to wait ages for his dinner that night. He believes his mum and dad are truthful but if not he’ll give them scratches!
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