Restaurant review: GiraffeBy Sarah Hamilton
November 01, 2012
Have you ever visited a restaurant where the staff just aren’t singing off the same hymn sheet as the ethos of the place they work for?
For example, they refuse to wear their frown upside down and, despite the venue’s sunny interior, it is most definitely raining in their hearts. Or they give you the sinking feeling they would rather be anywhere else but helping you have a good time.
Well, if you ever need an antithesis,
Giraffe it is; not only is the food laid back, homely and comforting goodness, but the staff are as warm, loving and caring as the decor inside.
We had a tall Aussie server – apologies if you turn out to be Kiwi – who was fun to have around, making drink recommendations, cheeky asides and generally looking after his charges – basic qualities in servers but so lacking these days, especially in chain restaurants.
But to the food! We began with a few appetizers to share, coconut shrimp (£5.65), popcorn chicken (£5.50) and corn on the cob (£3.95). The sweet flakes of coconut made the prawns bite-sized delights, while the ‘spicy zim zim barbecue sauce’ accompanying the breaded chicken helped keep it moist.
The corn on the cob dipped in red chilli butter was succulent and delicious but, personally, Nando’s corn on the cob is still the best for me.
For main, my guests had a classic burger (£9.75), which didn’t last long, and California sushi rice salad with oak-smoked salmon (£10.95) which included mango, brown rice, kohirabi, avocado and broccoli, with a wasabi lime dressing, an example of one of Giraffe’s health-conscious options.
I went for a half rack of baby back ribs (£8.50) in sweet-smoked barbecue sauce. It came with fries – I chose to substitute with scrumptious sweet potato fries – and slaw salad which, happily, was not in a peat bog of mayonnaise.
The meat was tender and sweet and I wished I’d ordered a full rack.
Other mains options included vegetable burrito, duck stir fry, chicken schnitzel, squash risotto, various grills, and hearty salads.
As a huge amount of chat between myself and my two guests ensued during the evening, expelled energy had to be regained with pudding.
We were recommended the banana waffle split by our server but instead I shared a rocky road sundae (£5.65) – with roof-of-the-mouth sticky, chompy chocolate brownie – while my other friend had key lime pie (£3.95) which was nice and tangy.
Giraffe has a nice selection of smoothies, iced tea, chai teas and so on, but also offers cocktails, wines and beer.
I tried a Skinny Passion, which was tequila, passion fruit, agave and lime, which came in a small tumbler glass – a bit steep at £6.50, and not that amazing, albeit refreshing.
My friends put away a few bottles of Pinot Grigio (£18.95 each) but there are other interesting world wines on offer if you’re feeling adventurous.
And after this I cannot tell you how the evening concluded for I disappeared into the night on another appointment, leaving my friends to finish the desserts and wine.
ut if the cackling, humour and warmth of staff and eaters I left behind is anything to go by, Giraffe is a fun place with a mix of cuisine to entertain the casual diner.
n Giraffe opens from breakfast right through to dinner and offers things like lunch and kids’ meal deals. There is also 25 per cent off for students.
- Telephone: (0118) 959 0101
- Website: www.giraffe.net
The Oracle Riverside, Reading