Fast fresh Italian food, yes. I should not like this, as we all know my feelings on restaurant chains, but to be fair, you cannot beat someone taking the ingredients you choose and cooking them in front of you. It is a theatre to watch and satisfying to taste.
It is a weird feeling entering an establishment, being given a card to wonder around on your own to discover what you want. It’s kinda self service but not. You have the pizza area and what seems to be the salad area. Then there is the pasta and risotto section where you choose your pasta type (or risotto), ingredients and sauce. This is genius. Sorry but it is. Not sure how qualified these Chefs are, but this is the third time I have been here and each time I have been in awe of their ability to cook up a pasta delight. Sometimes even doing two orders at a time. They ooze confidence and it shows in the finished product.
During my most recent visit, Eleanor started with the bruschetta duo (roasted ciabatta bread, basil pesto, tomato and grana padano) and also a salad of Chicken, croutons, romaine and grana padano D.O.P. I went straight in on the carbs with pasta, king prawn, basil pesto, cherry tomato, spinach, onions and cream sauce. For main course, Eleanor went with chicken salad.
So you order what you want and you swipe your card for it to record it. You can also go to the bar area to order drinks. I am not sure how the other venues are, but the one at Bankside is very organised. Each time I have been here, I have found a clean spot to chillax and eat. There is a large eating area just outside on Southwark Street, so in the Summer months, you can take advantage of the rays.
I like this spot. It is good spot for a quick lunch or dinner. Of course, if you want the best authentic Italian experience, there are places which you have to go. That said, Vapiano is a good contender as long as they stay true to the fresh ingredients and professional prep I have had the pleasure of enjoying on the last three occasions.
90b Southwark Street
London SE1 0FD
T. 020 7593 2010