Sometimes you end up at a restaurant that totally surprises you. For me, that was Vapiano on Flinders Lane in Melbourne.
Vapiano is an Italian restaurant with a few twists. The first twist is that they aren’t really an Italian restaurant because they call themselves a pizza and pasta bar.
The restaurant does have a more casual bar kind of feel, but its by no means a pub environment at all!
You start downstairs in the waiting area before being offered a seat upstairs. We went on a busy Friday night around 7pm and we only had to wait for about 10 minutes for a seat. Not bad on a Friday night in a big city.
The main part of the restaurant is upstairs. Its got long bench tables and because of that you might be asked to share with others. On one wall is the bar. On the back wall you have the kitchen and that’s where the next twist happens.
The kitchen is open so you can see exactly what’s happening, and that’s half the fun, because the watching is the key here. When you order your pasta the server makes the pasta right before you, and before she serves the next customer. Your pasta is as fresh as it can be, because you see it made before your very eyes!
The server takes a portioned packet of fresh pasta, cooks it in hot water while you watch her fry the garlic, spices, herbs and sauce in her mini wok. She throws it all together, transfers it to a bowl and smothers it with cheese. And then the precious cargo is yours to take back to your seat.
The pizza bar works the same way. You watch as the server makes your pizza to your specifications. But then when the pizza cooks you can go off and grab your drinks until you’re called back to collect it.
And the food tastes amazing. I had the pasta and loved it. I want to go back again right now and get another bowl of its deliciousness. Yum!
Dessert was good too. We each had a different type of cheesecake, all of which were served in the little mason jars. The desserts looked cute but it was the mains that tasted amazing.
The last twist comes with payment. While you order your pizza, pasta and drinks you don’t need to have your wallet out at all. Vapiano uses a card, the size of a business card, that you give to the servers when you order. They swipe the card and load onto it whatever you ordered. At the end of the night you take the card downstairs and pay. Simple, easy and it works great if you need to split a bill, because everyone can have their own card.
I haven’t been to an Italian restaurant that excited me so much in a long time. So if you’re in Melbourne check out Vapiano to see what I mean. If you’re not in Melbourne, don’t stress cause they have restaurants in Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
Been to an awesome Italian joint recently? Leave a comment to tell is how you liked it and whether you were inspired to cook because of it.