My impression? A restaurant where everything is real.
The sauces, pasta, anti-pasti, pizza bases – they are all real. And how are you guaranteed of this? Well, they are all made in front of you!
The owners – also real. Lucky enough to meet them at the stores opening, I can guarantee they are genuine and not some acting big shots. Their story is real, and is also remarkably inspiring. From visiting the original Vaipiano Restaurant in the UK to now owning 5 in Australia, they are extremely proud to be opening their 5th restaurant, the second for their favourite city of all, Brisbane (and rightfully so!).
It sure fits in with the new Garden City complex, with its elegant yet relaxed environment. The restaurant is flawless, the chefs are captivating and the concept is incredibly inviting! That being, choose your dish, watch it be made and enjoy the hub of the restaurant under a traditional olive tree! Note there are actually only two in the restaurant, with roughly 10 seats around the tree which from what I could see were always available! If not, there is the fabulous Alfresco experience, high tables downstairs and even more spaces upstairs!
Everything in the restaurant is locally sourced, using ingredients from within 150km of Brisbane. From the flour for the pastas to the olive oil and herb plants which decorate the tables – you can be rest assured you are supporting and enjoying local produce from daily deliveries. The best part is, if you love extra Basil, why not pick some of the fresh Lockyer Valley herb pot plants surrounding the restaurant and add it to your meal (my favourite feature!)
Now I know what majority of you are thinking, Italian and Gluten Free? You may have already considered this an irrelevant post, but allow me to smash all misconceptions now! Vapianos are so very accommodating with their menu options! Salads are definitely gluten free, and all of their pastas (besides ravioli) are available with gnocchi to allow gluten free enjoyment! The gnocchi is the only ingredient excempt from the produced-in-store motto, as its understandably too difficult to make gluten free pasta on all of the same appliances and in spaces where non gluten free products are constantly being produced fresh. In saying this, if you get there at the right time you can watch the pasta makers working away in the Manifattura – quite an experience!
For all other dietary requirements, the Vapiano code of dietary requirements is a blessing in all our eyes. Plenty of symbols for our vegan, vegetarian and gluten free requirements.
While they are still working on the logistics for the GF pizza bases, you sure wont be complaining in the interim with the pasta options available with the gnocchi! Its literally so light and fluffy, just like perfect pillows. The flavours, well, the only way to describe those is simply divine. Think house made, with passion, experience and appreciated ingredients from local producers who work tirelessly on their crops. The whole process behind the store is just worth a whole lot of gratitude to the owners for making such a concept available in not just one, but now two, local Brisbane restaurants.
You may be surprised to know that this fresh and classy experience is actually quite inexpensive, with everything around $20 and under, making this treat very affordable and perhaps much more appealing to students like myself who want the experience we often cannot afford!
My favourite part was the live theatre-style kitchens. when I can watch my food being made, I am about 150% more inclined to eat and love it. While I am generally wheat free, I found that the quality ingredients, lack of processing and lack of artificial colours, flavours and preservatives made this food much more tolerable for my stomach and obviously much more of an enjoyable experience! I got to try a range of the dishes and fell in love with every single one! Also a notable mention to the sustainability of the take away containers and dessert jars. These babies are well known for being able to be reused over and over again – an added bonus to your not-so-regular take away meal! If you are looking for a change in scenery for dining, Vapiano’s is well deserving to be on the short list. The vibe, the food, the staff and the story behind the whole restaurant chain is incredible and well worth checking out!
Vapiano is located in the new dining area (Town Square Restaurant Precinct) of the Westfield Garden City, Mt Gravatt.
Open 11am-11pm Monday to Sunday
Phone: (07) 3219 1402
Its also located in Albert Lane in the CBD, just off Queen St Mall
Open 11am-11pm Monday to Sunday
Phone: (07) 3221 4933
Check out their website for menu and other information: http://vapiano.com.au/restaurants/garden-city/