There’s a certain reverence the old Italian culture has with its food and it centres around family and celebrations around many of the Catholic holidays. Vapiano does well to capture those basics without the extravagance, re-invention or tweaking so many rely on to keep the short attention spans of diners who have so much choice.
It’s value driven, it’s prepared fresh and it’s done in front of you. The main dining area gives a panoramic view of the kitchen and a bird’s eye view from the second level balcony that’s ornamented with fresh basil pot plants. Set in the Grace hotel, it’s high ceilings and luxury setting provide an experience somewhere above casual dining without the pretentiousness of over-the-top fine dining.
“Before the meal” or Antipasti is a traditional opener we have of – toasted ciabatta, prosciutto, spicy salami, Parmesan, buffalo mozzarella, mixed olives, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto basilica and bruschetta. Proscuitto is a definitive staple that will never not the set the tone of a meal, once described to me as a cured meat prepared with “salt and time”, there’s a captivating feeling about this thinly sliced translucent protein that’s synonymous with Italian culture. Neutralising that saltiness was the Insalata mists piccolo of fresh mixed leaf salad with cherry tomatoes and carrots.
It’s supposedly, one of the most searched soups in Australia, so naturally, The Pumpkin Soup served with freshly made bread brings the warmth to the menu needed this Winter. One of the new highlights of the Vapiano season, the texture is rich and creamy evenly balanced.
What raises the casual dining status of this establishment is the fully equipped bar providing a pit stop for grown ups whipping up the classics and a few signatures of their own. A school night, the intermission between courses called for a Virgin colada, Mockito and a ginger hibiscus sparkling situation.
The Gamberi risotto with prawns, onions, capsicum, spring onions, sun dried tomatoes. In both dishes, tomato sauce binds the dishes together. It may sound run-of-the-mill, but in actual fact there are so many different ways to spruce it up. The cream in the con carne sauce softens the flavour while enriching the body of the liquid. While in the risotto, the white wine adds a subtle fruit flavour to the risotto that stimulates the bland starchiness of the rice.
Pollo e spinaci – tagliatelle with tender chicken breast, onions, pine nuts, cream with basil pesto and Parmesan tossed with fresh spinach. The nutty flavours in the pesto and the parmesan compliment each other nicely with hues of saltiness and mint accenting through.
The folded homemade pizza dough (calzone) with spicy pepperoni, Aussie smoke ham, mushrooms on homemade tomato sauce and mozzarella will be another Winter favorite striking the nostalgic cords of all with its resemblance to the classic pizza pockets. Breaking through that flakey crust into the hot filling, a burst aroma rushes at you.
Homemade pana cotta with fresh vanilla and strawberry sauce is a regular favorite, however the other highlight of the Winter Yumderland menu is the new fondue dessert. For a limited time only marshmallows, strawberries and chocolate brownie bites are accompanied with a palette seducing Nutella dipping sauce. It’s a simple arrangement that strikes a chord with all.
The grandeur of the Grace Hotel adds to the flavour of Vapiano’s ambience which generally would be unassuming but flavoursome. The large spaces, high stools, bar options, cater easily to al group celebrations. For visitors at the hotel, lifts the experience if looking for an easily accessibe alternative to room service maintaining it’s casual vibe within a very luxurious modern space.