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Like its Marylebone sibling, this branch of Vapiano is also pitched at the chip-and-pin generation. ‘Swipe and dine’ is the message, so pick up an electronic card, then choose what you want from
the food stations; everything is logged onto the plastic and you simply pay when you’re done. It may sound like a shopping-mall food court, but the no-fuss Italian menu fits well and ingredients
are commendable. Go for a plate of antipasti or a salad before picking your pasta and matching it with one of the sauces on display – say linguine with pesto rosso or pappardelle with duck breast,
curry sauce and peanuts. Pizzas offer a similar range, with margheritas and diavolos alongside less-familiar toppings such as Parma ham with honey and fresh figs. Stylish surrounds, reasonable
prices and cheap vino seal the deal.
We first discovered Vapiano on one of our visits to Sweden, when our budget was low and we couldn’t afford to spend a fortune on a meal, which is pretty unavoidable in Stockholm.Vapiano is a German chain serving up fresh cooked to order Italian fare. With locations worldwide, from NYC, Brasil, South Korea… Each diner is handed a chip card, which you swipe at the various ordering points, totting up what you’re spending and then pay at the till as you leave, swiping a handful of the complimentary Gummi bear sweets at the same time...
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Outside the UK, Vapiano is something of an institution. An Italian restaurant founded in Germany, it has over 100 branches scattered across the US, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, but here they have just two – both in London. The Great Portland Street branch is brilliantly located if you want to refuel after a hard day’s shopping on Oxford Street, but it’s usually heaving as a result. The other, tucked away on Southwark Street behind the Tate Modern, is rather more of a hidden gem, and it’s this branch that’s the subject of our restaurant review...
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