It’s hard to know where to start when attempting to sum up how bad Vapiano is.
I’d heard some fairly mixed reports about their approach – self-service, the dreaded table buzzers, chip cards to order from different stations etc – all of which sounded entirely off-putting.
It occurred to me, the best way for me to give them fair consideration would be to sample their wares as takeaway or delivery. I opted for the latter on a cloudy Friday evening.
Vapiano seeks to showcase classic Italian dishses – salads, pasta, pizza – although the chain draws its origins from Germany. I thought it best to look at one of the pastas and one of their pizzas.
I chose classic carbonara and a mushroom pizza.
The delivery service they use is Uber Eats. This service chopped and changed target delivery times, eventually ariving after 59 minutes following an initial suggestion of a 40-50 minute delivery window. Fair enough.
When the items were handed over, my first thought was “that pizza box is rather thin; hopefully that means a thin a crisp pizza base.”
What is actually meant was the centre of the pizza topping was stuck to the underside of the lid. The photo hopefully conveys the mess.
I had a slice to start and the base was thin, but on the overly crisp side.
I turned my attention to the pasta. Their recipe for carbonara was far from classic and the rendition far from good. In fact, it bore little or no relation to carbonara, was completely unseasoned, and had an awkwardly sponge gum texture unlike any pasta dish – good, bad or indifferent – I’ve eaten before or since.
The yellowed parsley leaf of the top of the dish was particularly emblematic of a complete lack of fucks given.
I returned to the pizza which was by comparison a rather better dish. It did however put me in mind of that other great German proponent of Italian food, Dr Oetker. This was pizza at the quality of something from the supermarket freezer.
In my delivery they’d included four small bags of Haribo, free, gratis and for nothing. They were the culinary highlight of the meal.
So overall, I would urge you to consider every possible alternative rather than crossing the threshold of – or lazily ordering from – a branch of Vapiano. Their carbonara was a fucking abomination, lacking charm, seasoning or appeal. Avoid at all costs.