Giraffe: Marylebone

Love Eat Live
This is Giraffe's tagline, which is sprawled on the walls in the restaurant and on their website to hammer home that the idea of eating out is to enjoy your meal experience rather than rush through the standard arrive -> order -> eat -> pay -> leave. It's been a while since I've been somewhere where the waiters/waitresses quite happily chat and interact with you, (I don't mean in a tacky TGI Fridays sort of way), and make you feel welcome.

I booked a table at the Marylebone branch for my Dad's birthday. Now, when the family all head out for a meal (usually 7 of us) there's been many an occasion where the timing's not gone right and the food doesn't arrive at the same time, or someone's has gone slightly cold because it's been left to sit too long. But rather pleasingly, Giraffe got it right and for each course the food arrived altogether and in tact. It was also refreshing to not feel rushed while we were there, though we also didn't have to wait too long for our food to be served. This could be because we'd booked at a less busy time of 5:30pm - little tip for you there, you can have that for free!

Munchings and Crunchings
So what did we eat then? There was a good balance of food for meat lovers and the veggie crew on the menu and the combination of different cuisine means you can cater for ooh, say 7 people with different tastes. You can choose from Greek to Thai to Mexican to American, as well as separate breakfast and brunch menus.

To start I shared the Mezze with warm naan, which was a nice twist on the usual accompanying bread being pitta. I think it's meant for one person, but it was plenty to share between two if you're planning on a 3 course meal.

Next up I had one of the monthly specials - the Black Jack Quesadilla, with black bean chilli, red onions, cheddar & montery jack cheese and mushrooms, served with salsa, sour cream, raw slaw and a sort of balsamic/pesto dressing. It was warm, melty, crispy, tangy goodness and was split into about 6 slices and certainly filled a whole for a modest £6.95!

We obviously didn't all order the same thing, so here's a few photos of what the others ate.

Japanese King Prawns

Chicken Tikka Skewers

Farmer's Market Vegetable Burrito

"The Big Greek" Lamb Burger

Grilled Half Chicken Portuguese Style

BBQ Ribs with Chips

Special: Jungle Fish Curry

Don't worry, I haven't forgotten the dessert! Most of the selection is quite chocolate based. Not a problem for me of course, but if you're not a fan (pff) I guess your main option is the crumble with apple and passionfruit, or sorbets.

But if you're not shy of a chocolatey end to your meal you're spoilt for choice. I passed on the brownie and the milk bubble chocolate cheesecake and went for the Belgian waffle with roasted banana, chocolate and butterscotch sauce.

The waffle was what it should be - big, filling and scrummy but I have to say I instantly got food envy over the milk bubble chocolate cheesecake. A much lighter and still devilishly chocolatey way to round off a good dinner. It actually had Aero Bubbles in it!

The tea and coffee menu was also quite exciting with Teapigs infusions or normal tea which come in a cute cast-iron teapot.

The latte's have different flavoured syrups, like hazlenut, vanilla or mint choc, if you're that way inclined. Or if you don't like your coffee meddled with, they do a good flat white.

Oh and...
One other thing which ticked a box for me was that it's clearly a restaurant which appeals to a variety of clientèle. You've got the friends who want a good catch up over a good value bite to eat; with the range of food styles to choose from it'd be a good place to take someone on an afternoon date; and families. We were a bit jealous that we didn't get the crayons and picture mats to colour in, but in the end my Dad got to leave with a balloon!

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