Friday, May 14, 2010

Paddock to Plate @ Vapiano

So so... I know I'm a bit slow off the mark, afterall I attended the Paddock to Plate Evening at Vapiano last week. But don't whinge too much- in the meantime, you could have read Claire or Ally's great write ups about the event!

I went along to the opening event at about 6 months ago, and was kindly invited back to the Paddock and Plate Event last week. Paddock to Plate was a function to showcase Vapiano's philosophies and introduce their local suppliers to food bloggers and food interested media.

One of the key concepts at Vapiano is focusing on using local produce- as much as possible is sourced from 150km radius of Brisbane. Whilst 'eating local' is not a new concept, it is fantastic to see a restaurant that classes itself as 'fresh casual' (i.e. main meals under $20) join the bandwagon. And join the bandwagon (with passion) they have.

Will, the owner of Vapiano, spent time overseas and the foreign Vapiano Restaurants inspired him to bring the concept to Australia. His overseas visit also ignited his passion for local produce. It was obvious that Will has passed on his enthusiasm to the staff and made sure he contacted local producers/suppliers that were also serious about local eating.

Paddock to Plate was a great concept because aside from learning more about Vapiano, I incidentally picked up knowledge about QLD produce that I didn't know. The producers that attended the event were :

Michael Dalton from Fino Food and Wine – olive oil, meats and cheeses
Michael Gavriel from Olympus Cheese - feta and ricotta
Kellie Jensen from Jensens Market Supplies – fruit, vegetables and herbs
Rory Smith from Bouchon Wines – Italian and Australian wines
Peter Wise from Fine Wine Partners – Italian, New Zealand and Australian wines
Andrew Gowdie from the James Squire Brewery – Craft beer

We were met with a spread of the produce on offer from the producers. The produce was piled up high and set out so we could taste. Some of my favourite things were:

The Ligurian Olives (Fino Food and Wine)-The olives come from Gibson Grove and are typical of Ligurian olives, small and quite sweet for an olive. These little olives were gorgeous - probably my favourite thing I tasted all night.

Buffalo Mozzarella from North Qld (Fino Food and Wine) - Perhaps ignorantly, I never knew that buffalo mozzarella is produced in QLD, but it is... and it is good. Buffalo is the king of mozzarella cheese (obviously produced by using buffalo milk) and the north QLD version on show was rich and fresh.

Ricotta from Olympus Cheeses in Brisbane. Olympus cheeses operate out of Coorparoo and specialise in ricotta, feta and haloumi. The ricotta is made from the whey leftover from the haloumi and feta. The ricotta was lovely and soft and characteristically mild. It was great to talk to Michael who owns Olympus cheeses about the process (stay tuned for another blog post specifically on Olympus cheese!)

Noosa Tomatoes from Jensens Market Supplies - the tomatoes were beautifully juicy and red and made a perfect pairing with some basil (also from Jensens) and the ricotta. Aside from the tomatoes. It was great to know that most of the fresh produce comes from very close- and rightly so. We live in a great region for produce and have sunshine coast to our north, stanthorpe down south and the darling downs(known as the food/salad bowl) less than 2 hours away. The garlic is all australia, the lemons from gin gin, eggs from darling downs, mushrooms from woodford and the herbs from logan.
It was also interesting to hear that Will and Tim (the Vapiano manager) consult heavily with Andrew (the beer guy) and Peter and Rory (the wine guys) to ensure they have a perfectly matched but concise and affordable wine list. They have chosen to shun the cheaper/run of the mill beers, which they would obviously sell more of, in favour of boutique drops that are far better suited to the food. The staff have also undergone training on which wine and beer best suit each dish so they are more knowledgeable on the subject.

Part of the event was also to officially launch their new winter menu (available from last week) and after a lengthy Q & A session with Will and all the producers, the featured menu items were a welcome sight.

Bianco Pizza (White sauce on the base instead of the more common tomato/napoli) was really the stand out. I enjoyed the Vapiano combination of the bianco sauce, potato, proscuitto and rosemary. The pizza was rich and warming without being stodgy, which is always a risk when potato is involved. The salciccia pasta has a napoli sauce with salami and nice fat juicy olives,but didn't have quite enough kick or garlic for my liking.

I thought paddock to plate was a fantastic success. I am a big advocate for local eating and am glad to see it being instituted in Brisbane in a casual restaurant. I think the next step for Vapiano is to perhaps make the menu a little more seasonal- a winter specials menu is a good start. I loved the opportunity to meet the producers and think that Brisbanites will really appreciate a venue that uses local produce and serves food for a reasonable price in the city.

191 Albert Street
Brisbane City
07 3221 4933 

Vapiano on Urbanspoon

5 fabulous comments:

Ally said...

White pizza rocks. SO happy Vapiano are doing it.

Leah said...

Sounds great! I love to hear about local restaurants advocating for local food - it's what I'm all about.

Gastronomy Gal said...

Sorry if anyone else left a comment. a bug in blogger meant they were deleted!

mademoiselle délicieuse said...

Real buffalo mozarella! Not sure I've ever had it to be quite honest, as I think the more commonly available uses cow's milk. The tomatoes do look very vibrant indeed and I'd love some sliced on toast right now with some ricotta and black pepper.

Claire from Eatout Brisbane said...

A great, mouth-watering round up! You're exactly right about the Bianca pizza, it could have been stodgy, with potatoe, pizza base and cream in there, but it didn't feel at all heavy.

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