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Giraffe (Restaurant)

Picture of Giraffe in Belsize Park & Chalk Farm, London

196-198 Haverstock Hill, Belsize Park & Chalk Farm, London, NW3 2AG
Cuisine: International
Tel: 020 7431 3812 | Email to Giraffe | Transport: Belsize Park | Write review

Giraffe Review

Scene: one grumpy, mildly neurotic, anti-corporate bias reviewer is sent on assignment to a newly opened branch of the Giraffe chain. Reviewer enters said establishment determined to write a terrible review. Fast-forward a couple of hours and same reviewer exits rather tipsy and in a jovial mood. Interested? Let's read on.
 
Following a brief chat with our waiter we quickly learnt that the Belsize Park branch of Giraffe was only 4 days old during our visit. While this initially inspired me with thoughts of possible incompetence and first week chaos, we quickly succumbed to the catch phrase on the menu advocating a “friendly welcoming place where a smile goes a long way”.
 
We put the catchphrase to our waiter. Given the staggering amount of choice on the menu, we fancied entree recommendations and, after a brief to and fro about our culinary likes and dislikes, we settled on the Edamame beans and Japanese Tiger Prawns, accompanied by a bottle of Akacia Tree Red.
 
Contemplating the warm, earthy interior, replete with wall murals, I was quite surprised that the management were not playing it safe with either the volume or choice of music. While not on the quiet side but far from intrusive, the playlist was not immediately obvious and I was thankful not to sit through another “top 50 safe hits that won’t scare your customers away” compilation. The music could best be described as worldly, cosmopolitan, and predominantly with a Latin lean. I was so taken by the sounds that I summoned the waiter to demand more information about what was being played. Without needing to refer to the CD player, the waiter explained that the CD - like all music played at Giraffe - was from the Putumayo World Music label and that if I were to Google Putumayo.com, I would get more information, which I indeed later did... and I suggest anyone wanting exposure to world music “guaranteed to make you feel good!” also should.
 
With the food now on our table I hastily dug into the richly green Edamame beans only quickly to be rebuked and informed by the blonde joining me that you don't eat these beans with skin, but you skillfully suck them. This makes for a dirty and oily affair, which is more of an enjoyable and suggestive experience than I can possibly put into writing. (I should also note that the staff provide everything necessary to continue your evening with clean fingers). What must be said about this serving is that I will never think of beans as dull or boring again, especially when accompanied by soy, chilli and mirin sauce.
 
For the mains, I firmly decided on the ribs, and requested that they swap the accompanying chips for coleslaw. Not an issue. The ribs themselves did the job ribs do: easy off the bone and saucy. The blonde conveyed that her Quesadilla beans were spicy enough to satiate her taste buds.
 
As the menu here spans a number of cuisines, as long as you don’t expect an obscure dish, even the more flippant diners palette should be satisfied by the inventive variety on offer. More importantly, the ingredients - especially the veggies - are served fresh, and are vibrant, which can often be overlooked in a large chain. The total cost of £60 for two courses and a bottle of wine for two people is definitely on the cheap side considering the quality of food served.
 
Atmosphere wise, while this kind of joint might not be the place for a first date, the Belsize Park branch of Giraffe has all the makings of a place for frequently enjoyable visits. I’ll go as far as saying that the atmosphere trumps many boutique establishments... as one member of staff put it, a little known fact about Giraffes is that they have the biggest hearts, and as cheesy as it sounds, you will leave with a warm and fuzzy feeling.
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Customer Reviews for Giraffe

Average (based on 1 votes): 1 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of Giraffe.

“This place is fairly new, but isn't too shabby - the atmosphere is pretty good for a chain.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
john kabuki, london (8 years 6 months 18 days ago)

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Additional Information

  • Cuisine Type: International
  • Group: Giraffe

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Venue ID: 20403

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