Hidden treasures: Vapiano
The beauty of Melbourne, is that it’s hard to run out of places to eat. Hidden in every nook and cranny of the CBD is something waiting for you – an indie burger place, a new pub, a hidden Asian gem.
We ventured on Flinders Lane, not our usual way (to Chin Chin), but between Queen and Elizabeth to discover a spacious Italian place. If you haven’t heard, the unique thing about their restaurant is that they provide you with a Vapiano card each and some menus. You order at various stations for pasta, pizza or drinks, you tap your card on the counter, they record your order and then cook it. This helps with that dreaded moment when splitting bills, when notes start flying, coins starts dropping and confusion ensues.
It’s an interesting approach – you get to choose your type of pasta and see it being made fresh. This does mean a lack of service as you wait for your order, grab some cutlery and bring it back to your table. However, they do clear the tables quite frequently. The wait for the pasta is also not too long, but I observed for the pizzas that you have to take a pager.
We were all quite satisfied with the results! I chose the “POLLO AMATRICIANA:
chicken breast, tomato and herb sauce with onion, mushroom and bacon” with fettucine as my pasta (bottom dish). The servings are generous and tasty, and I didn’t find it overpriced. They also provide you with complimentary bread if you like.
The other refreshing aspect is the cute decor inside. The little pot plants and warm lighting make a very comfy atmosphere for a night out or catchup with friends. Another bonus: the complimentary gummy bears at the front desk where you enter/pay at the end.
A downside? The card states that if you lose it, the value that must be paid is $75! (Solution: Just don’t lose it!)
Overall, it was a new and fun experience. I have seen some average ratings but my friends and I found the experience very enjoyable. The venue is surprisingly large and this means for a place that only takes bookings for 10 people+, that they will usually be quite equipped to fit everyone in!
Vapiano is located on the corner of Flinders Lane/Fulham Place (between Elizabeth and Queen St) and is open between 11am-11pm.