First off, I must make the, perhaps obvious, observation that Giraffe is not a music artist. Nor is it the name of an album or a review of a live show. Unless you count sitting in Spittalfields, staring into the kitchen, as a live show. No, Giraffe is a restaurant. A very impressive restaurant. Therefore, they are truly deservent of a write up in my slightly less impressive blog…
Vibrant colours and world music; my first impression of Giraffe was, and still is, that it’s not your average restaurant. There is always an air of enthusiasm flying manically around the room as you are welcomed into the Giraffe community. Self-titled a “world” restaurant, the Giraffe menu offers a wide choice for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. Options such as Wok Fired Vegetables & Udon Noodle Stir Fry are perfect for any vegetarian, whilst the BBQ Ribs will delight everyone else. For me though, there are always two features which really stand out: the chopped Aberdeen Angus beef burger along with the entire dessert menu!
I’ll admit that perhaps I’m not the most adventurous foodie, I’m far more excited by homemade comfort food than by the latest gastronomic experiments, but the burgers at Giraffe will genuinely please everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re the world fussiest eater or if you’re a self-proclaimed “food snob”, the Giraffe team will do their best to make your burger perfect for you. Medium rare with aged cheddar is my view of perfection, yet there is a great array of options for anyone to choose.
The meal culminates with perhaps the highlight of my day, no the highlight of my week, the dessert menu. If you thought choosing main courses was challenging then think of the dessert menu as the Everest to your local park mound as the main menu. A huge Rocky Road Sundae, Choc Chunk Brownie, Milky Bubble Double Chocolate Cheesecake and Banana waffle split to name but a few of the delectable desserts. The best thing to do in a situation like this is to order one of everything and share amongst a group.
There’s a poem on the wall in one of the restaurants that I can now recite fluently; it sums up the ethos of the restaurant through smiles. Describing how a smile can travel from one member of staff around the world may seem a bit over the top, but the underlying message is that you can see the happiness of the staff. Most locations have an open kitchen where you can see the chef’s effortlessly prepping and cooking dish after dish. Yet they still produce high quality, well presented plates any time of the day.
In fact, the brunch menu is another thing that Giraffe provides. It offers everything from simplistic porridge to stacks of pancakes with fruit. The menu genuinely is designed for everyone. Young children are entertained with their own menu and are normally asked directly what food they would like to order – making them feel as important as everyone else.
The Giraffe poem ends with the line “Let’s get the world infected” and they are certainly making a start at that. A new restaurant has recently opened in Bury St Edmunds with others around the country in Cambridge, Exeter and Oxford to name but a few, showing how the restaurant has evolved from the family owned chain in Central London, whilst still keeping the family atmosphere. The chain now has monthly specials – another sign of the development of the chain – and I am really anticipating just what other new delights will be in store for me. Hopefully the burger will always be there and so I’ll sit and smile whilst I apprehensively state “I’ll have mine medium rare please”.