FOOD // Vapiano Manchester

In our house, being healthy has been completely about weightloss and exercise. It’s resulted in a ban of anything cheeky and the idea of eating out at a restaurant has been a distant memory. 

Instead I’ve tried my hand at home baking and making meals with healthy alternitives to some of the ingredients. I’ve even tried to cook outside of the box, incorporating gluten free options or vegetarian versions. 

One thing I’ve never really struck gold with though is turning these into scrumptious meals, I mean they’ve always been tasty, on one level or other but not the kind of tasty you get at a restaurant. Know what I mean?  But then I heard that Vapiano in the recently refurbished Corn Exchange in Manchester were trialling a new vegan menu for a limited time, and then I got really intrigued. 

Vapiano is a Euro-chic chain of pizzas pastas & antipasti ordered directly from the chef & cooked right in front of you. 

That’s right, you chose from the menu then watch them make it, allowing you to change any part of it; adding removing or substituting ingredients from those laid out in front of you. 

So when we arrived we were given a card, a bit like a bank card and every time we ordered something we simply scanned our card to add it to our bill. 

We went straight for the pizza as they take a little longer to cook but by the time we’d picked a table from the huge open space and grabbed a drink from the bar we were surprised at how quickly we were alerted to go back to collect our pizza.

Vapiano have created their first vegan pizza & here’s how they describe it.

Con Cipolle Balsamico has a homemade tomato sauce, with fruity balsamic shallots, courgette, aubergine, fresh basil and rosemary.

If you’re not a fan of saucy pizzas I’d say this wasn’t for you as it was a little moist in the middle due to the amount of sauce but I don’t like my food too dry so for me this was a hit. It was a knife & fork job for the centre but really flavoursome. The balsamic shallots gave a sweetness with rosemary balancing things out. I’d definitely have it again!

Through FOMO (fear of missing out) though we couldn’t resist trying the other dishes too. 

The Funghi Bolognese, a delicious ragout made of mushrooms, carrots and celery in its very own homemade tomato sauce, with onions marinated with soy sauce and fresh herbs.

Now I’m not the biggest fan of mushrooms so I wasn’t really looking forward to this dish but I gave it a go anyway! I actually liked the dish which wasn’t very mushroom-y at all. It was a delicious tomato based sauce with fresh pasta so if you have any fussy eaters in your party this is probably a good dish to start with.

When you order your pasta dishes you can chose any type of pasta you like. 

It’s all homemade on the premises that day, and you can even watch them make that too!

Lastly for main courses was:

The delicious, vegan special risotto is the Zuaa Caramellata, featuring creamy risotto rice with a homemade sauce of Hokkaido pumpkin, orange juice and coconut milk, with a hint of vegan white wine, ginger, sesame and lime.

Now I would never normally choose risotto from the menu wherever I go, it’s so often cooked incorrectly and can often end up a sloppy consistency lacking flavour. At Vapiano though it turned out to be my favourite dish! The sauce tasted like satisfyingy mix of sweet & BBQ with a kick of chilli. Even after eating a fat portion of the other 2 dishes we finished the risotto without a problem. Both my partner & I agreed that this was best dish from the new vegan menu.

And if you’ve got space left in your belly after that, you need to pop over to the dessert counter! Lots of tasty treats to choose from like these..

There’s no need to worry about how long you’re taking to polish your plates either; the Manchester restaurant has 400 covers(!) and there’s no need to book unless you’re a large group. You simply come in, sit where you like, stay as long as you like and eat or drink as much or as little as you like. If you want to stay for 4 hours and just drink coffee that’s fine!

Needless to say I loved my visit to Vapiano, Manchester. Getting there is easy too. We parked in the NCP just off deansgate but the Exchange Square tram station is right opposite too. I’ve already recommended it to several people & I will definitely be returning. Have you been to Vapiano? What did you order?

*My meal was complimentary for review purposes but all images are my own & opinions are honest.

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