Last weekend I had a full day out in London – baby free! Think this was my first Saturday away from Violet in the time since she has been born, which is over 15 months now! Maybe it’s the panic that getting out and about with two will be so much harder, but I’ve been booking in all the things I want to do in last ditch ‘baby bucket list’ before my due date arrives and this was firmly at the top of the list! So, on Saturday I headed up to London with fellow blogger friend Lauren for a well-earned day out and a good catch up too.
Once we arrived in London, we headed over to the Southwark Playhouse to see Confidence (starring Tanya Burr of Youtube fame). It was an intriguing storyline with a retro 90’s twist that I loved. It reminded me of the 90’s series Sugar Rush, full of teenage angst and unrealistic ideas on life. All eyes were on Tanya Burr, being that she was the most well-known of the cast. I thought her acting was better than expected she seemed to fit the part well. There was another cast member who let the team down with constant fluffing of his lines though, which was a shame! I enjoyed the show but the theatre was MEGA hot and stuffy, not great at 33 weeks pregnant, or for anyone! They handed out a few ice pops at the start and I leapt forward to score the last one before they ran out, I would have killed for that last ice pop and I think they knew it. Crazy preggo alert! It did help though!
After the show, we had a wander around the shops (heading straight to Joy and Oliver Bonas, oh the blogger cliche!) before dinner at Vapiano, which is walking distance from London Bridge station. I have never been to a Vapiano before but they have 3 restaurants dotted around London and a few around the country too. Sadly not in Brighton – yet!
Vapiano serve handmade pasta, freshly made pizza dough and salads alongside antipasti such as buffalo mozzarella, meats & cheese. They have a system unlike the traditional restaurant, where you are given a chip card on arrival – you then order direct to the chefs who will cook your meal to your tastes, right in front of you. They tap the card to register your order then you pay your individual bill at the end. This is also great as there is one card per person, meaning no more splitting the bill or working out tricky receipts too!
We were greeted by the manager Ynes, who was friendly and helpful and after seeing I was heavily pregnant, gave us a private table a short distance from the accessible toilets and offered to take our orders at the table to save me from having to stand – a lovely touch. I was quite surprised as to to the sheer size of the venue, with large benched seating areas and an open kitchen – it’s quite an experience!
We enjoyed a drink and some olives at our table whilst we perused the menu. As a vegetarian I’m often limited by my food choices (especially whilst pregnant too!) but there was so much on offer for not only the veggies, but vegans, those on a gluten free or low carb diet. As all dishes are freshly made to order, all dishes can be amended and changed to your tastes or dietary requirements too. Basically, the possibilities are endless and there will most certainly be something to cater for all tastes.
I decided to go for the Salmon Carbonara – I asked Ynes about whether the ingredients were pregnancy friendly – she was extremely knowledgable and guided to me to ensure what I was eating was safe. With the pasta dishes, you can customise everything right up to the pasta shape, so I went with a ribbon pasta. The chefs prepare 11 different fresh pastas every day, so there is quite a choice. As this is my favourite Italian dish – I felt I had high expectations for this meal but I can honestly say it was the best I’ve EVER tasted. That is quite a statement as it means I’ve knocked my favourite Italian restaurant in Brighton off the top spot (cue another trip to London!) The pasta was amazingly fresh, you could tell it was handmade on the day and the sauce was rich, creamy and just delectable. I just didn’t want the dish to end, if I had room, I’d have ordered two bowls. Heaven.
Lauren opted for the BBQ Chicken Pizza which looked fantastic and she said it tasted even better. The pizza had thin crust with chunks of chicken, onions, smoked cheese, mozarella & swirls of barbecue sauce. Lauren added a few fresh basil leaves from the selection of herb pots on the table and said she thoroughly enjoyed it.
Even though I was stuffed from the main course, there is always room for dessert in my books. Being an utter chocoholic, I just had to go for the Italian Death by Chocolate Cake and Lauren went for the Cioccolate Foresta Nera – this was presented with a glass of layered white, milk & dark chocolate with Nutella, with chocolate curls on top. She’d told me she’d had her eye on it since she saw the menu at home the day before, clearly by her face and the silence during our pudding course it didn’t disappoint! We enjoyed our puddings with coffees – again, I was able to order a decaff so that’s another tick in the ‘pregnancy friendly’ box.
Overall, we had a fantastic meal at Vapiano. I was kicking myself I’d not tried it before as the concept is right up my street, especially how easily customisable each dish is and how much choice I’d have as a vegetarian! We will certainly be going again on our next trip up to London as I’d love to try a pizza next time, maybe when I’m not as pregnant and can enjoy the entire experience by watching our dishes being made! Until then I’ll just have to keep my fingers crossed that they think about opening a branch near to us in Brighton – I’m 100% sure it would be popular!
To find our nearest Vapiano and for more information, see their website here.