Giraffe Bar and Grill Soho, 11 Frith Street, London W1D 4RB
Giraffe’s all grown-up. This spin-off branch in Soho is hopefully the first of many more of the chain’s new adult-friendly restaurants. Known for being a family restaurant, step into any Giraffe and you’re sure to see at least one buggy and several toddlers propped up in a high chairs with napkins tucked into their Gap Kids T-shirts.
Giraffe Bar & Grill is their first restaurant to have a Robata grill (a charcoal Japanese grill). The wine selection has grown, and there are even three great value wine flights to choose from – a brilliant way to sample the new list.
We visited last week and didn’t really know what to expect, it’s on the old site of Franny’s Pop Up so I was able to appreciate how much work they’d done to the place, it looked fantastic. A lighting installation made from recycled jars hangs above a huge plank sharing table in the downstairs bar area. Totally different from their usual style, they’ve gone all urban – graffiti art on the bare brick walls, mix n match chairs, exposed ceilings, natural parquet floors, re-claimed wood panel walls and Spuntino style industrial ceiling lights. We really loved the artwork and clever lighting leading up to the lounge bar behind which is a room for hire (it’s really private) that has space for 80 seated or 100 standing.
We were offered two different places to sit, either by the bar or round the corner where it’d be a bit more cosy, we opted for cosy. Starting with a cocktail (of course) I ordered a Vesper – Bombay gin, vodka, lillet blanc, lemon twist
£5.95 and Ade a Mango & Lime Daiquiri - fresh mango & lime with Bacardi white rum & mango liqueur. The Vesper was the first time that I found a cocktail too strong to drink, it lasted me throughout the whole meal. Ade’s was lovely, and refreshing a bit like a melting sorbet. Ade could have drunk 12 gallons* of the Fresh lemonade with mint (£2.25) but I suspect that’s mostly because it’s served in a really cool jam jar with a handle!
* 12 gallons is the amount a giraffe can drink in one sitting!
Despite studying the menu during the day, we still couldn’t decide what to have, too many tempting options. Eventually I chose the Amazing Graze – 3 dips & warm breads with hummus, edamame & spinach dip, vine tomato & preserved lemon dip with warm flatbread, mixed seed crisp bread & sourdough toasts £5.95. We ended up sharing it and luckily we each had our favourite dips, mine the tomato – fresh and light and Ade the creamy edamame and spinach. Ade’s chose one of the small plates – Grilled Halloumi Sticks - roast pumpkin seed & chilli oil £4.75. Although it wasn’t the best halloumi Ade’s ever had (not salty enough), the red peppers where crunchy and sweet, while the oil was light with a delicate chilli kick.
I decided to be good and ordered the Sushi rice salad with grilled Yakitori chicken – Yakitori chicken, brown sushi rice, avocado, cucumber, mouli, baby spinach, green onion, toasted sesame seeds on crispy nori with a wasabi & soy dressing salad £9.95, I was expecting a huge bowl of salad, but it tasted absolutely stunning, I adored it and didn’t want it to end. Ade’s Beef short ribs with soy-honey & black pepper – marinated grass reared beef ribs from “Millers of Speyside” from the Scottish highlands & then slow roasted for at least 6 hours in our Asian BBQ sauce until the meat is ready to fall off the bone £9.95 was equally as good (I made him order it). I could’ve eaten them both. Gorgeous. Ade was offered the recipe for the Asian BBQ sauce – how we wish he took it, it was simply amazing, the perfect mix of Wild West and Far East!
I had a feeling the desserts wouldn’t top what we’d had already and ordered the Key lime pie with tangy lime marmalade £4.25 simply because I’ve never eaten it before. I didn’t quite manage to finish it, so rich and creamy but refreshing also with the vibrant lime marmalade, must find out how to make that stuff too.
Ade went for the Profiteroles from the specials menu – I think he had dessert envy, but it didn’t stop him from eating every last crumb.
What a fab meal, great friendly service, brilliant food and very, very cool decor. This was one of those meals that I can remember all the flavours just by thinking about it – can relive the whole meal in detail. As we left the Manager called out ‘Now don’t be strangers.’ We wont, we shall be back!
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