Time Out says
You can tell who’s new to Vapiano’s 'concept' by the way they clutch their menus and look around in confusion – getting a meal here is quite a palaver. Upon entering you’ll be hailed by the cheerful maître-cum-cashier, who will present you with a plastic charge card and menus; once you’ve chosen from the pastas, pizzas and salads or sides, you queue at a separate station to order each. Most of the food can be collected minutes later, apart from the pizzas, which take longer – then a hand-held buzzer alerts you when yours is ready. Settling up involves another queue, this time at the exit, and this wait can be quite long.
Such oddball logistics haven’t stopped the German-born Italian chain from conquering the globe – at the last count it had hundreds of venues spread across five continents. And it’s easy to see what appeals: Italian food is a no-brainer the world over, the décor is attractive, the ambience carefree, and – crucially – ferrying your own food to your table instead of relying on staff to wait on you keeps costs low.
Dishes are a bit pot-luck: a tepid plate of ravioli, despite being freshly made on site, was on a par with tinned varieties, with tough, chewy pasta and an unappealing filling. We fared much better with a simple insalate caprese that boasted a whole ball of briskly fresh buffalo mozzarella and tangy cherry tomatoes; likewise, a wood-fired margherita was of good quality (although it didn’t hold a candle to the sterling efforts of some nearby Soho pizzerias). However, as a safe choice for a quick lunch, Vapiano has a solid fanbase.
84 Wardour Street
|Opening hours:||Open 11am-11pm Mon-Thur; 11am-midnight Fri-Sun.|
|Do you own this business?|
Users say (9)
Average User Rating
3.9 / 5
- 5 star:2
- 4 star:4
- 3 star:3
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:0
Vapiano is an international fast casual restaurant chain that offers delicious Italian food cooked in front of you at self-service stations.
They use an unconventional payment method. A charge card is presented on entry and is swiped at various stations upon your order and payment is made when you leave.
As I entered the Soho branch, I was presented with many choices of foods including salads, soups, pastas, pizzas or a risotto. I opted for the pasta station.
Arriving before the dinner rush hour, I avoided the long queues. Pasta sauces could be combined with any choice of pasta. I opted for the Campanelle with Gamberetti which is prawns in tomato sauce.
I ate at a long wooden bench shared with other customers – a rather communal feeling like a school canteen. With fresh basil and rosemary pots at the table, I could add additional seasonings to my pasta.
The prawns were juicy. The sauce paired well with the al – dente pasta. The dash of lemon gave it the perfect lift. I had this with two complimentary slices of warm bread; nothing more rustic than dipping torn crusty pieces into leftover pasta sauce.
This is a brilliant casual place to visit with friends for a meal. With pastas ranging between £6.95-11.50, pizzas between £7.95 - 11.95 and risottos at £9.95 and £11.75, prices are a tad more than you’d expect for self – service. But I think there is perhaps something rather enjoyable in watching someone cook your food in front of you using top quality ingredients.
Imagine you get to an Italian food restaurant that looks like you're in Ikea, you're given a contact-less card and encouraged to got and check what's for food, order whatever you fancy and pay with that contact-less card. You'd say "WOOHOO! Free food!". Unfortunately, it's not free. On the way out, two charming ladies will pick your contact-less card, tell you how much you've spent and invite you to make use of your own contact-less bank card.
My first experience was nice and I will definitely give it a second go.
Snap up exclusive discounts in London
Time Out's handpicked deals — hurry, they won't be around for long...