Thursday, 11 March 2010


Went to Giraffe on the South Bank last night for a meal and catch-up with friends.

The founders wanted to create
Somewhere relaxed where people could have a great coffee and freshly cooked food at any time of day – all to the spirited sounds of world music so you could imagine yourself being anywhere from Sydney to Israel – somewhere sunny and full of smiles.

Hence the eclectic menu of "world food" available. I'd been there before and had a great burger and know people who rave about the place, so I was looking forward to trying something a touch more interesting than a burger.

Crunchy Nachos Melt
Melted jack cheese, guacamole, fresh tomato salsa, sour cream & jalapenos topped with crispy chorizo

Pretty good nachos, but I've never had sweetcorn in guacamole before. I'm not entirely sure that it added anything. Neither did the additional chorizo; it was simply over-powered by the other flavours.

However, I love nachos (who doesn't?) and Giraffe made the usual gaffe of too small a portion despite being a sharing platter. I also have issue with the distribution of the garnishes. On each and every tortilla chip I want some cheese, sour cream, guacamole and salsa. Perhaps I need to do a post on the perfect nachos...

BBQ Chicken And Smoked Quesadilla
Toasted flour tortilla oozing with melted smoked cheddar & filled with shredded bbq chicken & black bean chilli, served with chipotle aioli & salsa picante

Now this was a curious one. The over-riding taste was that of slightly sweet tomato with a pleasant under-current of bbq. The aioli practically blew my head-off. The lure of a creamy dip lulled me into a false sense of security and I forgot about the chipotle, fool that I am.

As quesadillas go these were pretty good and very moorish despite (or maybe because of) the bizarre tomato ketchup flavour.

My friends both enjoyed their mains of piri-piri half chicken and a classic burger (which came with some crackin' fries).

Our Giraffe "Crumble" With Apple And Passion Fruit with very vanilla ice cream

Why, oh why, oh why, did I choose to end, what had been a pretty good meal, (and yes, I know I was supposed to be testing the range of the menu and basically ended up eating Mexican. What can I say? I am an absolute sucker for the joy of tortilla, meat and chilli...) with a classic English comfort food dessert: crumble?

If I'd actually spent an iota of effort to think about my choice I might have been more sensible. What I got was not what I call a crumble and what's more, I am terrified that it's what people around the world think a crumble is.

The topping had obviously been baked separately as it was über-crunchy and had a gravel consistency. In my mind, crumble is ALL about the topping. It should gradually transform from crunchy on top through to dense cake just above the fruit, and all variations in the spectrum on the way.

The fruit and ice-cream were ok, not that there was much evidence of passion fruit apart from a splodge atop the ice-cream.

A disappointing end to what had been a reasonably good meal, but I blame myself really. I think my friends enjoyed their sundae far more.

So, I didn't really give the eclectic menu a good going over but I'd definitely go back. On a cold Wednesday evening the place had a lively atmosphere and the service was cheery and welcoming. I'd say Giraffe is a great a mates place: somewhere to catch up on gossip and have some tasty food at the same time.

Giraffe on Urbanspoon

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