We went to Giraffe in the Trafford Centre in Manchester for a meal as a family.
We were greeted within seconds and shown to a table in the outer area of the restaurant where we could see both into the main restaurant area but also out into the shopping centre. We felt that the main restaurant looked so much more inviting with its subdued orange lighting and funky atmosphere, I think it would feel like more of an experience if you sat in there but with children we were happy to sit anywhere with enough space for the pushchair.
C was given the children’s menu and the all important crayons and set to colouring in the giraffes while we chose what to eat. That took a while! The menu at Giraffe is best described as eclectic, it features some really interesting dishes in all sections and has lots of choice. The kids menu in particular is really impressive, there are 9 dishes to choose from and a range of different foods from pizza to cottage pie! During the week you can get a main course and a drink for £4.95, not bad when you see the size of the portions!
While we were deciding we ordered some drinks, the kids drinks are fantastic because they come with a giraffe stuck in the top, yet another thing to keep little ones occupied while they wait. C was impressed! He was also given a balloon that took pride of place on the seat next to him.
Now onto the really important part, the food! For starters we ordered the Chicken Potstickers and the Hallumi and Vegetable Skewers, the Potstickers were delicious, little fried dumplings with a soy chilli dipping sauce, we were both impressed with the flavour and also that although they were fried they weren’t greasy. I could have happily eaten another portion but then I’m greedy! The Hallumi skewers on their own were a bit bland, but when I tried them with the poppy seed celery slaw and the pumpkin seed chilli oil they were pleasant enough. I felt it maybe needed something spicier which is where Giraffes brilliant sauce box came into play, a dash of chilli sauce and they were yummy. They bring the box of sauces to you before your food arrives so you have everything you need to hand. Starters cost around £5 each, and go up to £12.95 for the largest sharing platter.
C had the Pizza bites, a generous portion of ciabatta pizzas served with fries and apple slices. He wouldn’t try the pizza as he was too interested in the fries but I tried it and it was great for children as it wasn’t too strongly flavoured. I liked the added apple slices to add something healthy to the dish and C was very pleased as he loves apple. We asked for his meal to come out with our starters which wasn’t a problem and stopped him from getting impatient.
For main course I chose the Grilled Mojito chicken, a half chicken marinated in mint, lime and rum, and served with fries and more of the poppy seed celery slaw. The marinade was delicious and as it was served in a pot on the side as well as on the meat you could easily have had more if you wanted to. My husband chose the ribs, and as a bit of self confessed rib connaisseur he stated that they “melt in the mouth”, served with fries and the celery slaw this was a big meal! Main courses cost around £10, going up to £15.95 for a steak.
Then for pudding, there was a big choice of desserts, I was surprised by how ‘normal’ they were after the unusual combinations on the main menu I expected something more exotic. We chose to share two desserts the Rocky Road Sundae, a big glass full of chocolate and vanilla ice-cream, marshmallows, brownie and chocolate sauce, and a Banana Waffle Split, a waffle topped with a roasted banana, ice-cream and chocolate and butterscotch sauces. They were both tasty, I did think puddings were a bit expensive at around £5.50, but they were big enough that you could easily share one between two.
C had the children’s Brownie and Ice-cream, I think it was probably the nicest dessert actually as it was simple and tasty. C managed the whole thing (and some of ours!). The last surprise came with the coffees, not only was the choice yet again vast (8 different coffees plus other hot drinks) and they were as good as any coffee we have had in restaurants recently.
Overall, we had a really pleasant meal. I would recommend Giraffe as somewhere to take the children. They will love the great choice on the kids menu and the giraffes in their drinks. They also do a great offer at lunch times £6.95 for a main course and drink, and an evening offer of two courses for £9.95. Good value options!