When my friend suggested we go to her new favourite Italian restaurant and that it reminded her of a restaurant we've been to in Germany, my response was 'When can we go?' Ironically it turned out to be the same chain of restaurant as the one in Germany. It was all very exciting.
In fact, there are several reasons why this restaurant can be called exciting. But first let me formally introduce you to Vapiano, located down Flinders' Street. Vapiano, is a chain that initially originated in Europe and now has spread through America and the Middle East. Here, in Australia, they have three restaurants and might I add, as a resident of Melbourne, none of them are in Sydney. At least for now.
So why is Vapiano exciting? I found just getting there itself exciting. Their location in Flinders' street surrounded by old buildings is really cosy. The moment you enter their brightly lit restaurant you are presented with plastic cards. You then climb up to the eating area where you can pick your own table.
Unlike your average restaurant where you sit around waiting to be served this restaurant will really satisfy the go-getters. You take matters into your own hands and take your card and walk around the pizza, antipasti or pasta stations and with a little tap of the card, the food is yours. (It's like having a bottomless credit card until you realise you can't leave without paying).
What I loved was the fact that it feels like you are at a high tech food market where you can actually see the food being made. Pastas rolled and formed, pizzas put in and out of the oven. Like I said, it's all very exciting.
Another reason I loved the place is its atmosphere. The interiors are done really nicely with bright lights and a touch of greenery. There are also very attractive outdoor areas that would be extremely inviting on a summer night. The staff are really friendly as well.
Finally the most important part, the food. The menu has a good selection of pasta and pizzas and the price range is pretty decent. One thing I noticed was there are no entrees or main size. It's a one size fits all, so no need to do the usual 'How big is a medium sized pizza'? , 'Would this feed all of us?'
A pizza I would say can be shared among two people, but a pasta can generally be considered a one person feast. We decided to try something slightly different and went for a Pollo Piccante pasta, which was chicken in chilli orange sauce (yes, I just wanted to know what chilli orange sauce tasted like) and an L'acacia (No I could not pronounce this word and yes it was embarrassing) pizza which was basically, fig, proscuitto, acacia honey, tomato base and mozzarella. Both these dishes were delicious but they both also had a sweet touch to them. (It's dessert and mains in one go). Overall everyone on my table was happy with their food.
Their desserts were pretty decent too. I was slightly let down by the lack of variety. But a friend and I shared a Crema Di Fragola, which is basically strawberries in cream and it was quite nice and my other friend's Panna Cotta was tasty as well.
If I had a criticism of the place it would be of the size of the cocktails. We had two cocktails and both were rather malnourished looking. I am no alcoholic (I promise) and really wanted to see it as the glass being half full. But that was exactly the problem. Where was the other half? Taste wise they were pretty decent.
Overall it is definitely a nice place to check out. It's a good place to go with friends for a catch up as well since you can order things at your own pace and also the interior are really (really) nice. I know I will definitely be back.
Great concept. Will try it out sometime. Agree about the cocktail. You sure you didn't take a swig out of that? ;) With no garnish and the wrong kinda glass it certainly does appear lacking - especially in Melbourne where you can get so many exquisite cocktails!