It's my mission in life (bit extreme?) to visit all 13 restaurants in Manchester's newly reopened Corn Exchange. The most recent on that list of 'eaterys to check out" was Vapiano!
Brought up from London, the Vapiano brand is all about freshness. As you walk into the huge, 400 seat restaurant, you can see fresh herbs on the tables, fresh veggies lining the counters and even more crates of veggies on display. The place is light, airy and has a real buzz about it.
I went along on a Friday evening with G'Ham, and we were each handed a card which was used to record our purchases throughout the evening.
The decor is really cool with foodie quotes and italian phrases on the wall. But the main hub of excitement are the food areas where you can watch your food being freshly prepared in front of you!
I loved this as it brought a whole new feel to the dining experience. From the pizza dough being rolled out in front of your eyes, to the antipasti being plated up on request. This really does showcase how fresh the food is.
The Perla Pizza
Despite living in Italy for a year, I have never seen a pizza cooked like this before! It's basically like an open Calzone, so the base is folded but not sealed. Like a shell! Kind of like a Pizza sandwich?! Either way, this was cooked freshly and was ready to eat within minutes. We were even given a handy buzzer which alerted us when our pizza was ready to collect.
Here we go!!
Our pasta dishes were cooked and served as we watched! This was so cool to see as everything was so cleverly placed to make the Chefs job as streamlined as possible. It struck us how quickly the meals came together, so even if the restaurant was at full capacity, it still probably wouldn't take more than 5 minutes for your dish to be ready once you had been served.
The pricing was absolutely fine for the quality of food that we got - a bowl of pasta was around £8-10 - and these were generous portions. Similarly, a pizza was around the same price and this could easily be big enough to share.
Tip: I would definitely recommend any of the pasta dishes. Everything is made to order so you can easily request extra spices or take something out of a dish if you don't want it.
As well as the usual wines on offer, we were eager to try out some of the more Italian style drinks on the menu. Spritz is an all time fave of mine so I was pleased to see that this contained a healthy (not literally!!) amount of Aperol. Another tasty option was the Martini Royale - also probably not one to have if your driving! Great for a night out though!
We were told that we could take our time and relax at Vapiano, and we sure did... We were there for 4 hours! We enjoyed every minute. The staff were very friendly and keen to answer any questions that we had.
I can imagine that the self service aspect might put some people off going to this restaurant, for example, I know that I wouldn't take the parentals as they like to be wined and dined, and paying a split bill might be awkward.
However, for myself and G, we really enjoyed the whole experiential side to the dining room and we'd definitely go by ourselves or with a group of friends. I think this is an ideal venue for a first date or for a group to go to. The card option would really take the hassle out of paying a large bill and you can keep tabs on who has ordered what!
Have you been to a Vapiano before? What do you think?
Disclaimer: Our meal for two was complimentary of Vapiano but as always, all thoughts & opinions are my very own. **I don't feature anything on my blog that I'm not 100% happy with, and this meal was really really good!!**