Vapiano Music Nights
Last night we had the pleasure of dining at Vapiano in the heart of Soho. Wardour Street and the surrounding streets are packed with bars and restaurants and so it’s not always easy to stand out from the crowd.
The concept behind Vapiano is simple; to offer good quality Italian food, without the frills (no caricature 1970s leering waiters with giant pepper pots to be found here!), at very reasonable prices. As you enter you are greeted, given a ‘credit card’ and given an explanation of how it works. The restaurant is modern with communal seating, with lovely touches such as your own pot of basil on the table. The restaurant is over 2 floors, with a bar on each, bar staff come to the tables to take orders. There is a short wine list, with wines available in 4 sizes; small glass, large glass, a 500ml carafe, and bottles, prices range from £15 to £25 for a bottle of Amarone (which I thought was very good value). I started with a glass of Prosecco, which for once was truly dry, I’ve found that a lot of the so called dry sparkling wines are getting sweeter and sweeter, so this was really very nice.
All the food is cooked to order at the back of the ground floor, there are 3 stations, one for salads, one for pastas and one for pizzas. You order what you fancy directly from the chef, and your card is swiped. It’s self service, so you take your food back to your seat yourself. This element of self-service means that you get to see your food prepared in front of you and know just how fresh it is, it also means that the prices are incredibly keen. Pastas and pizzas start at £6.95 and rise to £9.95. There’s a good range of classics, house specials, and internationally influences dishes. As a high heel wearer I wasn’t overly keen on carrying my food on a tray to the lower ground floor where we were seated for the music, and asked my partner to do the honours!
We started with a shared plate of anti-pasta. We chose the large at £10 – this would probably be enough for 4 people! The bread was wonderfully fresh and the mozzarella of excellent quality – needless to say, it all got eaten!
I went on to have one of the house special pastas, spicy sausage with figs – you can choose your own pasta or take the recommendation of the chef. I went with the chefs suggestion. It was very good, made with fresh pasta cooked to order. (For the sake of my waistline I didn’t quite manage to finish it!)
My partner chose a pizza. The Pizzas are handmade to order, in front of you, and you’re then handed a numbered buzzer which you can take back to your table which will then alert you when your Pizza is ready. He chose the Diavolo as we are both fans of a bit of chilli in our food. There was no complaint about the size… it filled the large plate completely! It tasted as good as it looked, and was wolfed down.
He then followed with a desert, Nuvoletta Dolce, a meringue topped yoghurt with fruit, which was also declared very good!
Whilst we were eating there was an acoustic set from the stunning Stephanie McCourt, who played a mixture of cover songs (think Paloma Faith and Calvin Harris) and her own compositions. I particularly liked Shake You Off. I’m sure that we’ve seen a young lady on her way to success, this seems to be a shared view as on release of her ep “Stripped Back” the lead single “Hard Living” stormed to number 4 on the Irish Itunes chart, and recently Stephanie was also nominated for TWO 2014 Urban Music Awards for Best Newcomer and Best R&B/Soul act where she won the prestigious Best Newcomer Award.
Vapiano is putting on Pasta with Soul at both the Soho and Bank branches over the next couple of months. For an extremely good value for money meal, with entertainment, in the heart of Soho, I can highly recommend it. (Just take someone not in high heels to negotiate the stairs!)
The next pasta with soul nights are:
MAY 5TH -SOHO
6TH – BANKSIDE
JUNE 2ND – SOHO
3RD – BANKSIDE