Does Vapiano in London/England taste the same as in Germany? That’s what I was interested in, and since one of the few Vapiano restaurants in the UK was conveniently located directly opposite my hotel, the CitizenM, there was only one thing I could do – go to Vapiano London Bankside and test it myself! Vapiano is an international restaurant franchise operation, originally from Germany. The first Vapiano Restaurant opened in Hamburg back in 2002.
Whats its like at Vapiano in London
The corporate identity of Vapiano in the UK matches the one in Germany, I think to myself as I enter the Vapiano restaurant in London’s Bankside. “Madam!” – the lady behind the cash register looks at me. Of course! After all, I need my card. This plastic card is held in front of a reader every time you order something at any counter – it’s self-service at Vapiano – and when you leave, you pay at the same cash register where you received your card.
Along the long bar, there is one counter after the other. At one there is ONLY pizza, at the other ONLY pasta and at others only salad. Separately, there is again a smaller bar at which there are alcoholic beverages such as wine or even fresh Italian coffee and sweet treats.
Luckily the restaurant wasn’t too busy in the evening, its a business district nonetheless, so rather hectic in the afternoon than during the later hours. As the restaurant is self-service, you have to grab any unoccupied table to sit – I have too often experienced it myself in busy restaurants such as the one at the bus station in Munich, that It was simply impossible to find a table and place to sit and enjoy your meal.
The process at any Vapiano is the following: you enter the Restaurant and receive a card to charge your orders onto. You proceeded to the salad counter if you would like to have a bis salad bowl, and with the salad on your tray over to the Pasta counter to order your preferred dish. As every meal is prepared right in front of your eyes everything is customizable. Afterwards, you are searching for a table to sit and eat, and later present the card at the checkout counter to pay for everything. Since every person who enters the restaurant gets a card, every person who wants to leave must also have one. It’s possible to charge every order on one card, so if you visit as a couple one card stays unused and only one needs to be paid for when leaving.
my Vapiano experience
Just as in Germany, I went for the Pesto Basilico Pasta dish at Vapiano London Bankside. As everything is highly customizable, you choose your type of dish first, followed by the type of Pasta, I went for Fettuccine. It’s a simple dish, only containing Basil pesto, olive oil and pine nuts. Additionally, free of charge, you can choose to have fresh chilli and/or garlic added to your dish. Additional Extras for Pasta dishes at Vapiano are ‘Nduja (+£2.00), Mushrooms (+£1.00), Cherry Tomatoes (+£0.50), Fillet Beef (+£3.25), Italian Hard Cheese (+£0.50), Bacon (+£1.50) or more. Plus additional slices of Home-baked Ciabatta Bread (+£0.50) which I happily added. Later followed by my favourite Vapiano dessert, Crema di Fragola. Definitely an appropriate way of ending a sightseeing-heavy day in London.