I do not need any encouragement to eat more carbs, or more of any food for that matter. I literally think about food all day long, so when I was asked by Vapiano to pop in and try some of their new menu designed specifically for runners, I of course said yes.
It's now been three weeks since the Manchester Marathon and I'm still eating a lot! At the end of my two week taper, I really did feel that I'd misjudged my food intake. I think I ate WAY too much in the lead up to the marathon and I did feel sluggish as I stood at the start line.
It's a tricky thing to get right and your nutrition when training is very personal to each and every runner. Vapiano's new 'Eat Pasta Run Faster' menu has been devised by nutritionist Dr Sarah Schenker especially for runners to provide the right amount of carbs, protein and healthy fats to keep runners feeling fit and energised. You can read more about the menu here.
So how was it?
The food was really nice. Everything is prepared freshly on site that day, from the pasta to the homemade sauces, and pots of growing herbs litter each table allowing you to add to your food as you like. We started with the caprese salad to share which was enormous but tasty, and the freshness of the ingredients really shone through.
From the runners' menu plan we opted for the Risotto Funghi with Chicken, and the Vapiano Salmone pasta. The risotto was amazing, really creamy, rich and tasty but if I'd been paying for the Salmon pasta I would have taken it back. Although it was nice, our chef was way too heavy handed with the fresh chilli and sadly this was all you could taste. Word to the wise. go easy on the chilli here!
The concept of the restaurant took a while to get used to. Each diner is given a card which keeps track of everything they order so you pay for only what you eat and drink - a great idea for big parties. You take your card up to each station and wait while your food is cooked to order in front of you. This means you can add various different flavours to your meal, or leave out ingredients which you are less keen on. It does however mean that you are standing and waiting mid meal which is a little different and does impact on your dining experience. I think this would be a great place to go for families, or a large group for a relaxed lunch.
The next day I went for a run and felt the best I had since the marathon. This could be down to any number of factors; a successful recovery period, enough sleep, or even a tasty Italian meal the night before. I'll let you decide.
We were kindly invited to Vapiano to dine for free and they knew I would be writing a blog about my experience.