Although things may be quiet on the blogging front recently, in real life they’ve been super busy, with interviews, day trips, holidays, and trying out new food places, one of my absolute favourite things to do. With my recent trip to Contini in Edinburgh, a few days later I had a booking for yet another Italian restaurant, but this time in Glasgow, and I couldn’t wait as there’s nothing I love more than pizza and pasta (all the carbs). With a lunch date to Vapiano on the cards I decided who better to take than my beautiful little sister where we could catch up over some good food and have some sisterly bonding time.
Vapiano is a restaurant offering Italian food, and having only heard of them this year when they announced they were taking over the old HMV building situated on the famous Buchanan Street, I’ve come to realise that actually this chain has restaurants all over. With humidity levels hitting an all time high we couldn’t wait to get into the place and order a nice cold drink and eat our weight in pizza and pasta.
There’s a lot of concepts within this restaurant that make it like no other. Firstly, when you enter you are given a card, which is swiped each time you order so at the end of your visit as you exit the restaurant downstairs you hand over your card and VOILA you’re given your total. Not only does this save waiting for your printed bill, to then ask for a card machine and have to wait for that to be brought over, it also makes things a lot easier in terms of settling bills and calculating how much everyone owes if you tend to go out for food with friends. Once given a menu and a card each we headed upstairs where we were free to sit wherever we wanted. We chose a table by the window to do some people-watching of those down below having a stroll up and down Buchanan Street or those enjoying the sunshine on the steps of the Royal Concert Hall.
First things first, the restaurant itself is super spacious with plenty of tables to choose from, from your high chairs to your lower stools, with window seats for the people watchers or tables directly beside the ordering stations if you want to be closer to the food. Simple but sophisticated is the only words I have to describe Vapiano and its decor. It wasn’t long before I noticed a card on the table advertising their summer cocktails so I just had to find out what cocktails they had on offer and maybe have one for myself (it may have been before 1 in the afternoon but it was 5 in the evening somewhere else in the world). I ended up ordering a Strawberry Mojito and Kiera went for the Seven Fruits Mocktail as she isn’t yet quite old enough to have an alcoholic beverage but still wanted to join in with the pretty drinks. My strawberry mojito was a different but amazing take on the classic mojito and the only way Kiera could describe her mocktail was by saying that it reminded her of being on holiday, which I can only see as a good thing.
Starters? We all love them, they break up the meal and prepare you for the main event. There were many antipasti options on the menu such as bruschetta and carpaccio but after spotting a garlic pizza we decided this was the one. I’d heard of people getting this pizza as a side and saying how it’s the perfect size for sharing so rather than getting one each and ruining our appetite we ordered one to share. Here’s another concept of Vapiano which makes it stand apart from anywhere else, there’s a number of different cooking stations, one for pasta and risotto and one for pizza and bread, and so you are free to approach the appropriate station and place your order with one of the chefs. Quite excited about this, I raced up to the pizza station to order our garlic pizza and was given a buzzer, which would buzz to let me know when the pizza was ready (again another unique concept). Heading back to the table with the buzzer in hand, it wasn’t long before I had to head back to the station (5 minutes if not less) where I was met with the strong smell of garlic, which made me eager to get back to the table and dig in. It was delicious and after 2 large slices each we were both ready to take another look at the menu to make our final decisions about what we were having for our mains. You could eat this garlic pizza on your own but with the mains being super filling, it’s definitely ideal for sharing.
When it comes to Italian food I’m a pasta kinda girl and so I already knew I wanted pasta, but the question was which pasta dish due to the vast array of choices on the menu. With the items on the menu you can add any extras to a dish if you so wished, all at an additional cost. I was in the mood for carbonara (one of my favourite pastas) and that combined with feeling a bit experimental I decided to add king prawns to this popular dish since I hadn’t had prawns since first trying them in Dubai back in March. Upon approaching the pasta station, the next step was choosing your pasta with the likes of spaghetti, fusilli, penne, and tagliatelle on offer. I opted for the tagliatelle, and Kiera got the exact same minus the prawns (she’s definitely the fussier sister). The dish was cooked from scratch before our very own eyes, an aspect I loved as you got to see the chef cooking it (almost like a mini cooking lesson, no pressure on the chefs then eh). Just as our food was being plated up we were asked if we wanted some fresh bread to go with our pasta to which we both agreed was a good idea. We hurried back to our table as asides from the pasta looking amazing, the smell of parmesan, bacon and lots of other delicious flavours were lingering right under our noses. Asides from being extremely filling and it being a struggle to finish, this pasta was amazing, there was absolutely nothing to fault about it. The tagliatelle itself was so fresh and cooked to perfection, and the prawns I added to the pasta worked well with the bacon and the creamy sauce (I’d definitely do that again). I’m quite fussy with bacon in carbonara and tend to leave it if it’s fatty or too chewy but this was just the way I like it meaning there would be nothing left in my bowl by the time I was done with this. Typing this post is actually making me want to take another trip to Vapiano very soon for my daily dose of pasta. It was early in the afternoon, we had just demolished 2 courses and were about to order another, it’s safe to say we weren’t needing dinner that evening. Kiera ordered the Death by Chocolate Italian style chocolate cake, which was very rich and a dessert that any chocolate lover would adore. I on the other hand went for the Cioccolata Bianca: a blend of white chocolate and cream on a biscuit base, topped with salted caramel sauce and honeycomb. Anything which sounds in the slightest bit like cheesecake has my name written all over it and so this is what I ordered. It came in a cute little jar and after a few spoonfuls I had to throw the towel in, 3 courses of greatness can be a lot to handle that’s for sure.
If you’re looking for somewhere that serves good food in a quick manner then Vapiano is worth the visit. Modern, attentive staff and with it being extra personal watching your food being prepared in front of you, in addition to having the option to pick and choose what you want or don’t want in a dish, this is an Italian to look out for. Fast-food concepts in a restaurant setting went down a treat with me and I can’t wait for my next visit.