Giraffe is renowned for its kid-friendly restaurants scattered across the country. A little while back its grown-up version opened its doors in Soho.
As Louis (of Tuck & Vine), Jeanne (of Cook Sister) and I entered the restaurant we didn’t stumble over buggies and no ear-piercing shrieks came out of little mouths. In fact, the place was child-free and had a definite adult vibe to it that demanded that you start “chillaxing”.
The cocktails, Bramble (£5.95) and Peachy Mimosa Punch (£6.25) immediately put us in a good mood.
In order to try as big a spread of starters as possible we ordered the Sharing Platter (£17.95). The food arrived on a gigantic plate and looked impressive. Although the Lime and Coriander Prawns were very average, the Yakitori Chicken was dry and the Fried Calamari rather underwhelming. Flavour-wise the Satay Chicken was great but had me wishing that more sauce was slathered on it. Definitely the best of the bunch was the Portobello Mushrooms with their punchy Teriyaki marinade. Tasting like old rubber tyres, the chunks of tofu skewered between the mushrooms deserve to be dropped from the menu. And the Nachos? Attempting to pick up one chip, Jeanne ended up with the whole cup’s worth coming out in one piece, molded together by mysterious substances. A rather lukewarm start to the meal.
With my cocktail long gone, I turned to tap water. As a professional water guzzler I found the glasses provided too small and annoyingly it felt like I was asking for a refill every five minutes, which begs the question. Why didn’t they just leave a full jug on the table?
The first thing that struck me when the main courses arrived was the generous portions. Very American indeed.
For those who err on the side of caution, the New York-style Sirloin Steak (£16.50) and probably for that matter items from the Robata Grill menu are safe choices. Perfectly grilled, juicy steak with crispy chippies. Shame about the gloopy, overly buttery Béarnaise sauce though.
The Farmer’s Market Vegetable Burrito & Salad comprised of roasted squash & vegetables with pinto beans, feta & herby rice, wrapped in a soft tortilla topped with pumpkin seed chilli oil, adobe sauce, jack cheese, tomato salsa & crumbled feta. For £8.95 it’s a bargain and the quality top notch.
The highlight of the meal was the Beef Short Ribs with Soy-Honey & Black Pepper (£10.95). Ignore the steak knife in the picture, you could have pulled the meat off the bone with a spoon. Excellent sauce too!
When ordering side dishes the addictive Sweet Potato Fries (£2.95) are highly recommended. Beer Battered Onion Rings (£2.95) and Poppy Seed, Red Pepper and Celery Slaw (£2.25) are winners as well!
The Key Lime Pie (£4.25) filling was fabulous on its own but the cream on top was simply excessive. Fresh and sweet passion fruit was a fun touch to the delicious Baked White Chocolate, Mascarpone & Passion Fruit Cheesecake (£4.95).
Lastly, the Toffee Apple Crumble (£5.95) was simply humungous. On the menu states it’s enough for two people. They lied! Four could have happily munched away on this satisfying autumnal dessert.
6/10: There were highs and lows to the meal, i.e. inconsistent quality.
9/10: Huge portions ensured that no one got up from the table hungry.
4/10: More proactiveness from the staff would have been appreciated, e.g. thanks to an overful glass (too much ice, take note bartender) our table got soaked and we had to actually ask someone to help out. Plenty of black flecks (ground coffee?) were floating on my dessert wine. When I sent it back another glass arrived. It too contained black flecks but slightly less of the stuff. I gave up.
6/10: It did the job.
7/10: A relaxed atmosphere where I could have easily spent the whole day chatting away.
6/10: Pass on the starters. Main courses are a must and if you still have space left share a dessert. Upstairs is ideal for groups who would like to sip the night away on cocktails.
P.S. I was a guest of Giraffe Bar & Grill.
Giraffe Bar & Grill
11 Frith Street