Most parents can relate to the fact that taking small kids to a restaurant can be a nerve racking experience. If you’re not completely lacking in self-awareness, you will know that screeching and wailing will annoy other customers. Not sitting still, spilling drinks, throwing food – the list is endless of bad behaviour kids come up with.
Which is why in my pre-children days I would have avoided Giraffe like the plague. Fast forward to the present and with two small children in tow I’m positively sick of the stench of McDonald’s. Sure, it’s cheap and cheerful but the food lacks quality ingredients and I dread to think of all the chemicals used in the food production process.
Suddenly, Giraffe looks like manna that fell out of the sky. It’s kid-friendly, prices are reasonable and the menu is fun. Edamame from Japan, Nachos and Tostada from Mexico, Potstickers from China, Mezze from the Middle East, Bruschetta from Italy – it’s as if they took a few of the best dishes each cuisine has to offer and put it all in one menu. Giraffe gets very creative with burgers and there are steaks and other exotic dishes on offer as well.
Supplies were immediately delivered to out table to amuse my son, Gabriel, who got busy with colouring in. Growing up, different restaurants used to bring me crayons too and I can tell you that Giraffe’s are the coolest ones I’ve come across so far. For one, they don’t leave an oily residue on the fingers and they’re difficult to break, which means instead of receiving a cup full of someone else’s leftover bits of crayons, long intact but used ones were provided instead.
The Sunrise smoothie (£2.15), comprising orange, strawberry and tomato juice, was a hit with Gabriel and my Mango Mama (£3.85) – mango, strawberry, banana, orange, apple juice – was rather good too.
Can you tell how impressed a ravenous Gabriel was when I told him he couldn’t touch his Kids burger (£4.35) until I took a photo of it? After removing the lettuce and slice of tomato and adding a healthy of dollop on ketchup on the patty he polished his plate. To the side of the plate you’ll see a little yellow giraffe stirrer. Along with a blue one, these little guys travelled all over London with us because he loved playing with them so much.
My starter was Crunchy Shrimp with Nuoc-Cham Sauce (£5.65) which was easy to the eye and palate. I would have preferred the BBQ sauce to be better incorporated with the half rack of Baby Ribs (£8.95) but the Sweet Potato Fries and Coleslaw were moreish.
Gabriel nicked one half of the strawberry before I could take a photo of the Rocky Road Sundae (£5.95) and thought Christmas came early this year as he cleaned out every last drop from the glass, one happy camper.
Maybe we got lucky but on the Sunday afternoon during lunch time we visited Giraffe’s Victoria branch it was easy going and relaxed. There were little children but all of them well-behaved, thanks to the crayons and activity papers to provided not to mention the great food to keep them occupied. What was even more surprising was that there were adults, young and old, who were there without children. My bad. My impression before visiting was wrong all along!
7/10: The menu is a composite of the world’s best and most famous dishes.
7/10: No one got up hungry.
6/10: Friendly but a bit slack at times.
6/10: Everything in working condition.
7/10: Relaxed and family friendly atmosphere.
7/10: Even if you don’t have children, pick your time right and go an enjoy a fun meal in a laid back environment.
120 Wilton Road