Thanks to Mark (@DJStoney) for this write-up of launch night at Belsize Park Giraffe
“As a fan of the Tootsies American style restaurant that occupied the site, I was dubious about Giraffe taking over. After all, the first ever Giraffe (of 40 UK branches) is exactly 5 minutes walk away. However, the advantageous large format open-plan restaurant offers a different dining experience to the cosy (and brunch-tastic) Giraffe up the hill. Indeed, each and every site seems to have a local adaptation, which is a rare credential iun ‘concept restaurants’.
I walked in to a personal greeting from the lovely @giraffetweet and the buzz in the place lent it a party feel. I was here for dinner, but the vibe was good. As I walked over to our reserved table my dining companions were waiting and smiling as they said they were recovering from ‘the niceness of the staff’. No bad thing!
Giraffe has a world-influenced menu with representative dishes from all over including curry, stir-fry enchilada and steak. This, combined with the piped world music, gives a truly international feel to the place and the ‘something for everyone’ menu is great for families, mixed groups and kids.
We shared some nachos and mixed mezze for starters, which tasted good. Main courses involved chicken kiev, tasty ribs and our veggie diners were most satisfied with their super-food salad and pizza. An extensive drink menu including excellent smoothies (my fave is a GiddyGiraffe: papaya, fresh mint, banana, orange, lime juice) kept us going.
We shared the desserts, including the most popular choice on the menu: Banana Waffle Split (waffle with roasted banana, vanilla ice cream, chocolate & butterscotch sauce). We also had a chocolate brownie that they kindly customised due to my strange request of marshmallows (served on a saucer with teaspoon).
The food and service were faultless and the comments from the other #whampers who braved NW3 for launch night @WHampstead @mayfield22 @sorchapadmore @lisafparry @anna_black and @bubela) suggested they all enjoyed themselves. Thumbs-up all round.”
Disclaimer: all the people mentioned above received a complimentary meal from Giraffe. Mark points out that as a professional mystery shopper, the freebie doesn’t stop him from dishing out the criticism where necessary. Photos by @WHampstead, @DJStoney and @bubela.
Giraffe, Belsize Park
196-198 Haverstock Hill
020 7431 3812