You're Having a Giraffe...?

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Essexgirl09 on February 27, 2013

Booked to go to the cinema at Westfield Stratford, my friend and I had yet to decide where to eat. We went to the food places near the cinema first, and contemplated our options. Wagamama and a few other places looked busy and had queues outside, but Giraffe looked busy but not rammed. I had eaten in this branch before (one Saturday lunchtime last autumn), and found it quite efficient, so we elected to go there.

Typically when we decided to go to Giraffe a small queue started to form, but they were just one party so we were seated in no time. Giraffe are an established chain of informal restaurants throughout the UK, concentrating on ‘world’ foods – burgers, Mexican dishes, and noodle dishes can all be found on their menu, which they claim are always freshly prepared. Being situated in a shopping centre there is no particular atmosphere at this branch, you can even sit ‘outside’ in the centre and look at the world go by (and I think half the world were in Stratford last Saturday). However, I often end up going to a Giraffe as they have a varied menu with plenty of veggie options. There is a bar area inside and either banquette seating with wooden tables, or dull silver metal round tables. There was nothing outstanding about it. Giraffe restaurants usually play world music but I couldn’t hear it in this branch. I didn’t visit the loo this time, they are at the back – but as all are on one level, they are suitable for disabled access. Décor generally is simple and unfussy.

Coming at other times you may want to have a breakfast or brunch here. They serve breakfast until 12 and have a good range of options including cooked breakfasts. Some classic brunch dishes are also available until 4pm. Our server was friendly and helpful, which was good as I was dithering. My first choice was which cocktail to have – a classic mojito or the mango and lime daiquiri. I am glad he recommended the daiquiri (they also have a strawberry one but I was concerned it could be too sweet) at £6.75. The cocktail was thick - a frozen daiquiri – and gave me brain freeze, but it was lovely. I would definitely have this again. My friend had a bottled beer.

I don’t think their individual starters options and hugely appealing and quite limited (although the halloumi skewers could possible have tempted me) but they have a good range of sharing platters. We didn’t want to be late for the film, so we passed on this and went straight to mains. I have never been particularly decisive when it comes to choosing what to eat, which is one advantage of being veggie – I often don’t get so much choice. However in a Giraffe they do have lots of veggie friendly items and narrowed by original short list of four down to two as I decided I fancied chips. My next decision was do I have the falafel burger or the veggie focaccia? Our server was definite that the falafel burger was the best so I followed his advice and just asked for it without peppers (£9.75). My friend went for the chicken ‘club’ at £9.45, although he opted to have sweet potato fries.

My friend’s burger came up first and I waited patiently for mine. We nibbled a few of his sweet potato fries and found them to be not that warm, and a bit soggy. My burger then came up, and them my chips followed. I was luckier with mine as they were piping hot, but I think they could have done with another minute in the fryer as they were a tad undercooked, noticeable only on the bigger chips. Fries are ‘skin-on’ but this only affects the ends, and I so like them this way. My ‘deluxe’ falafel burger was held together by a skewer, which stopped gravity having its way. The generous portion of falafels and rocket was balanced between a chunky burger bun with beetroot and dressing, with a big slab of halloumi on top. I ended up taking the ‘lid’ off and eating the rest of the burger with my knife and fork, as the bread was too much. It was served with a spicy harissa dip which I smothered on the halloumi, and it certainly had a kick to it. My friend enjoyed his club, saying it was tasty and well cooked.

We decided not to have a dessert as we decided to have a quick mooch around the centre before the film instead. We got the bill which came to about £30.

All in all, the restaurant was not as efficient as I have experienced in this branch before or in any other Giraffe. We came away a bit disappointed, but would no doubt return to this chain at some point.

304-305 The Loft The Gallery, Westfield Stratford
London, England, E20 1ET
020 3463 9808

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