23 Jul Vapiano, Melbourne CBD
With five branches, including the one in Melbourne, they must be doing something that appeals to the masses. Heaven for those who dread ‘no split bills’ signs, Vapiano provides everybody a chip card that records everything that’s order, and patrons pay at the end before they leave.
The vibe is casual but smart, and tables are well spaced – something that seems almost like a luxury nowadays. Pizzas, pasta and salads are available, as well as a bar providing wine and cocktails. The pasta is made on-site, packaged into little paper bags then cooked for all to see after the order is placed. The ordering area reminded me a little of a food court, with people lining up and waiting for food to be cooked, except you know your dish is being cooked fresh every time.
At the pasta bar there is a large range of different sauces to select from, as well as a few varieties of pasta, including less common types like conchiglio and campanelle. Diners are also offered complimentary bread, which can be dressed with olive oil or balsamic vinegar at the table.
I ordered the Gamberi with tagliatelle, which came with prawns, tomatoes and spring onions in a homemade tomato sauce. After watching my pasta and prawns being cooked right before my eyes, I brought my tray to a spare seat and tucked into dinner. I found that the tomato sauce had a bit too much bite for me, and it needed a little salt. The tagliatelle had also clumped together in many places, although the parts that were cooked and had separated properly were nice and al dente.
Though it was interesting to see a different dining concept in play, I didn’t find the quality of the food impressive enough to return anytime soon.
357 Collins Street
Melbourne, VIC, 3000
(03) 9620 3335