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Vapiano

In an age when Italian-style fast food means having a quick plate of pizza or pasta, Vapiano takes things one step further and makes things fun and well, practically interactive....


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Review

1 Blossom Street

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Tucked away in Blossom Street – presumably the place in the City specialising in bulb investment and Chrsyanth futures – is the aptly named 1 Blossom Street. The owner, Roberto Podda – a name I could happily recite for hours – seems to be on a mission to bring good Italian food to this corner of the Square Mile. On the evidence of our recent visit, it’s mission accomplished. And all without an over-reliance on pasta.

It’s a smart room, and the atmosphere is relaxed. I’m a huge – in all senses – fan of Italian cuisine. There’s something inherently sexy in the food, something engaging about the passion and flair it’s all done with, that transmits to me when I eat it. It’s not often that someone of my, er, Tony Soprano-like girth feels sexy but Italian restaurants do it. Pretty much everytime. And, from walking through the door to the last drop of coffee, 1 Blossom Street pressed all of those buttons.

The menu is straightforward and unfussy, but brings an impressive twist to standard Italian ingredients: the usual flavours are all present and correct, but the assembly is slightly unexpected. For example, Poached Egg in a Parmesan basket with Crispy Bacon and Sauteed Potatoes (£7.60). The flavours – the cheese, the bacon, the expertly sauteed potatoes – scream Italy but the poached egg gives it that sense of novelty. Over-analysis aside, it’s just a great dish, that straddles the line between all-out comfort eating and sensible starter. My companion went slightly healthier with the Swordfish Carpaccio with Herbs, Ligurian Olives Tapenade, Tomato Concasse’ and Citronette (£8.90), a delightful combination of flavours.

Mains were similarly first rate. Indeed, even a vegetarian option, Frappe with Broccoli, Chilli and Pecorino Cheese, sounded tempting. However, carnivorous leanings always overtake me in such surroundings so Roasted Pork Chop with Rosemary Potatoes and Sauteed Spinach (£14.50) it had to be. Yes, it was more potatoes, but carbs are not evil, okay? Anyway, this was a good piece of meat treated with care and attention and immensely satisfying. The other half’s Seabass and Cherry Tomato Risotto with Roquette (£13.50) was also terrific and what a combination.

Desserts were, of course, unnecessary by this stage but if you can turn down Tiramisu with fresh berries (£4.50) then you’re a better man than I am. And come on, it at least came with berries rather than potatoes so that’s an improvement, surely? Whatever, this was a very good piece of Tiramisu and, as one who has eaten a fair few slices in his day, you can take my word on that. Again, I was put to shame by my companion who went the Fresh Fruit and Sorbet (£5) route, and clearly enjoyed it.

All in all, a highly enjoyable, professionally-run place that’s big on taste and friendliness.

Address 1 Blossom Street
Tel: 0845 345 1727

Type of food: Italian

Average cost per head, including wine - £35

Rating: 3/5

Food: 3/5
Service: 4/5
Atmosphere: 3/5
Value for money: 3/5