Food profile - Vapiano, Corn Exchange, Manchester

PUBLISHED: 11:04 09 February 2016 | UPDATED: 11:04 09 February 2016



© The Vain Photography | Carl Sukonik | |

We visit self-service Italian restaurant, Vapiano in Manchester’s Corn Exchange

What a great concept! Vapiano is possibly the only ‘self-service’ restaurant I would ever visit through choice, much less recommend to friends and family.

Everybody loves to dine Italian, don’t we? When it’s done properly you can rely on warm and tasty pastas, risottos and pizzas served rapidly and with style. At Vapiano this is exactly what you get, but with the added twist that you actually go and watch your meal being made, right in front of your eyes as their chefs cook your dish to order, just how you like it.

All the pizza dough and pasta is made on-site, daily and you can see this take place in their Manifattura, where they make everything from fusilli to spaghetti from nothing more than fresh durum wheat semolina and water.

Another clever innovation is that diners order and pay using a smart card system. These are issued one per customer as you arrive and popped on a payment screen when you place your order - meaning everyone pays for what they order, avoiding the need for tricky bill splitting at the end of the meal! Genius!

We started with a shared plate, Piatto Antipasti (Grande, £10.75). Watching the chef pile on the goodies is certainly a good way to start the mouth watering and the end result is as tasty as it looks. For my main I opted for a pasta pesto (£7.75) – get this wrong and its curtains, you know what I’m saying? Luckily it was delicious. My husband chose fusilli with a Cognac sauce (£10.75); chicken breast, bacon, peas, garlic, cream, tomato, cognac plus optional fresh chilli. Awesome; though I’d nix the chilli myself!

We were both really impressed by the concept, but it’s the execution of the concept that will make or break a place, and here the execution is flawless. Attentive and knowledgeable staff guide you all the way; freshly made pasta (which takes 28 seconds to cook!) is added to sauces made before your very eyes or to pizza bases hand-stretched there and then; an extensive bar; great puds and fast service – meaning no hanging about – well, it did it for me!

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