This week, I was lucky enough to be invited by Vapiano, Manchester to experience a night of fresh Italian food. Having not been to Vapiano previously, I had a look online and saw plenty of tasty looking dishes I wanted to get my hands on, so it was a no brainer for me to get my ass down there!
Vapiano serves traditional Italian food but the way it all works is a little different than your average restaurant. Upon being shown to my seat, along with good friend Jack (bloody legend!), the manager explained to us exactly how it all works…
Firstly, you are given a card which is used to purchase all of your food and drink with during your visit. It is used in exactly the same way as a debit card would be with contactless payment. Nice and simple. A waiter comes to take your drinks order, but instead of then taking your food order, there’s a couple of open food stations where the chefs are cooking. You just walk on over whenever you are ready to order your food and they cook everything fresh in front of you, something I am always a big fan of.
Having my food cooked fresh in front of me is one of my favourite things in terms of a dining experience. It has been ever since I spent time in Japan 2 years ago as I pretty much ate myself across the country and got to experience many chefs cooking my food where I sat, especially in the okonomiyaki restaurants.
It is get to see the cooking area and all of the ingredients that are on offer, making it is so much easier to decide on the little things that you want to add to your dish.
“Extra garlic, sir? Chilli? Parmesan? Extra prawns?”
Obviously, the word ‘No’ didn’t leave my mouth at any point during this experience!
“Throw it all on there mate! More prawns, more garlic…more of everything!”
I am in the middle of my marathon training so I reckon I have earned a few extras hahaha.
This way of ordering makes it very easy for you pick and choose what you do and don’t want on your plate. For anyone who doesn’t like certain ingredients or is allergic to anything, you can tell the chef yourself rather than playing Chinese whispers via your waiter/waitress. The other major perk of ordering from the chef and seeing it being cooked is that not only do you get a fantastic sight to feast your eyes on as you wait, but you get to smell those delicious ingredients as they hit the heat. There’s nothing that makes me hungrier than smelling garlic and chilli as it releases it’s aromas! It just stirs up the ‘hungry monster’ inside me and makes the whole experience all the more satisfying. So, enough build up…What lovely yummy goodness came our way during the evening?
The starters were absolutely spot on. Well, mine certainly was and Jack looked as happy as Larry! This was also when I discovered another bonus about the way that the ordering system works in Vapiano. You order each course whenever you want it rather than all in one order. This is something that certainly suits me because I like to really enjoy my food and go at my own pace. Food isn’t to be rushed, it’s to be enjoyed! If you were to speak to my friends though, they might just simply describe me as a bloody slow eater! 🙂
I can’t speak for Jack on his carbonara, although again, he was very happy with his choice after sinking his face into his tasty looking dish…but my risotto was a cracking decision! Although there were plenty of great looking pasta dishes on the menu, I always feel that a well made risotto is pretty damn satisfying and it is also something I only make myself on a rare occasion, so I immediately wanted to sink my teeth into this one. Especially the plump and juicy king prawns that came with it! Damn, I love a good few prawnies! Stick me in the sea with a fork…I will eat the lot of them!
It sounds typical to read about how good the food was somewhere, or that I couldn’t find fault with anything here, but I genuinely had a really good feed at Vapiano and I did so in a beautiful building (The Corn Exchange), whilst having a good catch up with one of my best friends. So in all honesty, I would recommend this place to my own Mother, and you know I wouldn’t do that if I wasn’t happy with the evening! Hell no! Only the best for Mother Nicholson!
Good food, service and company. That’s as good a recipe as I can think of.
Vapiano, I shall return! And thank you to all of the staff who were particularly friendly and hospitable.