I’ve always liked Giraffe, ever since my student days – it’s a great space with a buzzing atmosphere and all sorts of funky interior décor details, and the food is much more creative and exciting than in your average chain. Their world food vibe takes inspiration from countries all over the planet, so even if you go with a big group everyone will find something to their taste, and with their latest menu I think they’re really nailing it. The menu features all sorts of interesting bits and pieces from Turkish pide to Taiwanese gua bao buns, and if you can’t make up your mind, the new tapas selection lets you try a whole range of dishes. Order 5 tapas for £24.95 and you get a free bottle of wine, making a fabulous feast for two people that’s a seriously good bargain.
You might wonder if Giraffe are able to get it all right, when they offer so many different cuisines, but honestly, I was pretty impressed. From the new tapas menu, we ordered barbacoa pulled beef tacos, loaded up with salad, guacamole, sour cream and chipotle, spicy patatas bravas with lots of garlic aioli, yaki gyoza fried chicken dumplings, crispy salt and pepper squid, and garlic and rocket flatbread. The portions were really generous so it was more than enough for two people, and it was all packed with delicious flavour. It’s tough to pick a favourite but I think it might just have been the yaki gyoza for me – crisp on the outside with incredibly tender, juicy chicken in the middle, and served with a lovely sweet, tangy dipping sauce. My dining companion, meanwhile, loved the pulled beef tacos, and we both agreed that the garlic and rocket flatbread was also fabulous, perfectly seasoned and with a great texture. We washed it all down with a bottle of house wine, a crisp Spanish white called Dreamtree.
|Beef barbacoa tacos|
We were pretty full after the tapas and could easily have stopped there, but we just couldn’t resist trying a little more of the menu… in particular, the gua bao buns, which can be so hard to get right. We ordered one of each, steamed duck with hoisin sauce and katsu chicken with peanuts (top image), and I’ve got to admit that the katsu chicken in particular was the standout dish of the night for me. The buns were beautifully light and fluffy, and the chicken was just so delicious.
Finally, we risked a glimpse of the dessert menu, and then somehow found ourselves ordering a sharing portion of churros with dulce de leche and chocolate orange sauce. The churros were crisp, light and generously dusted with cinnamon sugar, and even though we were absolutely stuffed by this point it was impossible not to eat them. The chocolate orange sauce was rather bitter but we both loved the dulce de leche, and scraped the bowl clean.
All in all, we really enjoyed this meal, and I’d be happy to recommend Giraffe to anyone. The food was good and the prices were really reasonable, especially the tapas menu – a full meal for two with wine for just £24.95 is incredible value for money. I also love how helpful Giraffe is for anyone with allergies and intolerances – I’ve got friends who really struggle and we know that Giraffe is always a great choice for them. A great night – and I’ll definitely be going back for more of those gua bao buns.