I am a marketing and communications consultant and freelance writer. Living on the Gold Coast in Australia. Check out my website www.sarahsays.com.au or follow on Twitter @WENGoldCoast
Published September 6th 2014
Fresh, Fun and Fabulous
Most of us at some point have been to an Italian restaurant, so they are all pretty much your standard pasta, pizza and salad place right? Well, that's what I was expecting when I went to Vapianos Italian in Surfers Paradise for lunch, but I was pleasantly surprised to get a whole new experience.
I think the word that sums Vapianos up is "fresh" and that's not just the food, it's the decor and feel of the place too. As soon as you walk in, it is clean, bright and airy with loads of indoor and terrace seating and a bar, plus an open kitchen to the right taking up the whole back wall.
You are given a menu and card when you arrive, and if you haven't been before the staff at the front desk will explain how everything works. The card acts as a mini credit card that you tap at the bar and food counters when you order, and then settle up at the end back at the front desk. See the full menu here.
You can order drinks at the bar, or there are people walking around who will take the order, they simply scan your card, although when busy it may be quicker to order at the bar. You can have as many cards as you need, which is good for large groups, and avoids arguments and calculators when settling a complex joint bill.
It is the open kitchen that makes Vapianos different, as you watch your food cooked fresh before your eyes at the kitchen counter. After you have chosen your dish from the menu you head to one of the pizza, antipasti and salad or pasta counters, you give the chef your order, and then watch as the dish is prepared in front of you.
Myself and my boyfriend both chose pasta dishes, so I went to one of the pasta counters, ordered our dishes, tapped the monitor to add them to our card, and then the chef started to create our food. First you choose which pasta you want (about 8 choices) and then the chef gets started - what is great is that you have control over how the dish is prepared. Whilst cooking, the chef talks to you and asks what you want - so you can have more sauce, alternate ingredients, extra chilli or add herbs and spices to tailor the dish.
Chicken and Spinach Pasta
It was fascinating to watch the chef cook, it must be quite a lot of pressure to have the customer watching, but they all take it in their stride and cook two dishes at once with ease. Once they are done you collect some cutlery and take the dishes back to your table using the trays. We ordered garlic bread too, which was ordered at the pizza counter, where you are given a buzzer which goes off when ready, it took just a few minutes.
The food was delicious, and seeing everything being cooked from scratch gave it that extra flavoursome edge and freshness. In restaurants you do often wonder what goes on in the kitchen, and if the food is just reheated. This way you know exactly what is going into your dish and how it is prepared. The kitchen area and surfaces, despite all that is going on, is really clean and tidy, again giving peace of mind for freshness.
If you want to tailor your dish even more, each table has pots of fresh herbs so you can pick and choose what you want and add them to your dish. How cool is that.
Herbs on each table
Not only that, they make all the pasta fresh that day and change the menu every few months to take into account ingredients that are seasonal. Plus all the ingredients are sourced locally. I'm not sure you could get any fresher.
We had a really great experience, with delicious food and no wait time at all. My only concern with this process is that when busy, you could have to queue for a while, to get your food cooked, and for larger groups you may end up getting food at different times. However, from what I could see there is a pretty quick turnaround on dishes (I suspect the menu was chosen for this reason) and the manager (I believe) was certainly rushing around, checking on wait times and ensuring customers where looked after. Plus, as we were coming in and settling up, there were lots of people arriving who when asked if they had been before, said yes, and repeat customers are the real indication of a great place.
Located on Cavill Ave - just look up
I am certainly looking forward to heading back of an evening, to soak up the atmosphere and have a few drinks. Plus the terrace has great views of Cavill Ave, and the beach. It is located just off Cavill Avenue - if you head towards he beach - once you get to Ripleys Believe It or Not and Movenpick Icecream Stall, turn left and head up the escalator.
Look out for their $10 lunches offer from Monday to Friday and you can also sign up for their newsletter to get offers, news and deals.