Review | Vapiano

A couple of weeks back I was invited down to the Manchester Vapiano to take part in their ‘Eat Pasta Run Faster’ campaign. Why did I want to get involved? Well many reasons. One, I love food, two I was in training for the Manchester 10K (which I’m hoping to document properly over the next few weeks) and three, I’m not the biggest pasta fan.

I’d only ever been to Vapiano once before and that was years and years ago back when I interned in London. So if you’re unfamiliar with the brand and concept, I’ll fill you in. Vapiano is a German chain semi self-serve Italian food restaurant, which may already have you going ‘huh?’ Basically upon entering the restaurant you’re given a plastic card and from the menu you’re given all of the dishes on offer with the price, like any other dining experience. Once you’ve decided you head up to either the pasta or pizza bar to order where your card gets scanned to equate your bill at the end.

But back to the campaign, with running in particular, to be able to be at your peak so to speak, you need to make sure what you’re putting in your body is the right kind of energy. I signed up to the Manchester at the start of the year and increased my training from 3-5KM a week to in the last couple of months averaging around 10-20KM a week to make sure I was prepped. And to do it, I had to increase my food intake. Luckily pasta is a quick way to do this as it releases energy slowly and as Dr Sarah Schenker (who the brand have teamed up with) advises, it's needed to stop you "hitting the wall" during a big run.

So when it came to picking my pasta dish, I wanted something that would fulfil that brief but as a pretty much non-existent pasta eater, also something I’d enjoy. So I opted for the Cognac. It’s pasta served with chicken breast, bacon, peas, garlic, cream, tomato sauce, cognac and white spring onions. What’s always held me back from pasta is that I’m a fan of meat and find the texture a little bland but having the sauce and the chicken along with it definitely won me over. The flavours together were spot on and my only fault isn’t even a fault - but that I struggled to finish it. I’m a small plate eater so no-one else probably would have the same issue but go hungry if you’re opting for that dish! And the great thing is about Vapiano is that not only can you choose the pasta type for your dish but you watch it freshly made in front of you. I did lean on the chef for his recommendations and thankfully, he delivered.

As a big pizza lover, a pepperoni pizza was also on the cards which was pretty damn amazing. The dough was beautifully soft and the cheese far too moreish. Luckily as I yet again struggled to finish, the staff boxed it up for me to take home because leftover pizza is almost nearly as good as fresh. I finished up with a dessert - how are you eating yet more food when you’re full I hear you ask?! Well luckily, they do smaller dessert options which for someone like me, is totally doable. I opted for the Crema Di Fragola (cream with strawberries) which after some carbs was just the fresh kick I needed.

It’s only my second time there but would I return? Yes. It’s perfectly located in the once again thriving Corn Exchange in the centre of town making it completely convenient. Although it’s a chain the interior is super sleek, chic and open planned so even in the busiest of times you don’t feel overcrowded. The service is super speedy and I didn’t meet one member of staff who wasn’t anything other than polite.

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