If you follow me on Twitter you’ll know that I went to Giraffe in Holland Park for lunch on Saturday. You’ll also know that I had a terrible meal. I’ve had a chance to let it all sink in and to really think about the meal and today I will tell you all about it.
Giraffe restaurants have popped up everywhere. They have an unusual, unique, distinctive style; a really good social media team and they always seem busy so I thought it would be a hit. I’ve also walked past the one in Soho and the Brunswick Centre several times and admired the food so when Moo said he was hungry I suggested that we’d make our first visit.
Though there are four different brands to the Giraffe franchise, I kind of expect them all to provide the same quality and atmosphere. The Holland Park branch is one of the original style branches “freshly cooked food for everyone served to the sound of great music”. It’s quite small and not as noticeable as other branches I’ve seen but everything in Holland Park is slightly understated. It looks clean and bright and for a Saturday afternoon in Holland Park, half the tables were in use so it seemed about right.
After being seated we were given the menus and I was surprised with both the size of the menu but also the lack of theme, which actually made choices a little limited. Due to this it took me a long time to decide what to order and the waiter didn’t seem too happy that we said we needed a couple more minutes twice – even though he didn’t take our drink order.
After deciding, a different member of staff took our orders and I went for the Giraffe Burger (beef burger with bacon and cheese) with skin on fries and a coke and Moo ordered and Rodeo Chicken Burger and sweet potato fries with water. Nice, simple and what they seem to be known for.
When the drinks arrived my coke bottle was beyond warm. The glass was over filled with ice to compensate and thus the coke was watered down and flat. Not a great start but not the end of the world.
When the burgers arrived they looked nice. There was a little pot of what looked like piri-mayo and it was all served on cute wooden boards. But unfortunately, for me at least, that’s where the good points ended.
I never eat both buns on a burger because I find it’s too much bread so when I took the top off I was faced with a partially melted bit of cheese on top of charcoal burnt bacon. I ate it thinking that it’s easy to burn bacon and though I didn’t enjoy the bitter, smoky taste, I didn’t think more of it. That is until I got to the burger patty. It was thin, rubbery and burnt to a cinder. I could not taste the beef at all due to the dry, hard, black coating of the burger and the patty was so thin and tightly packed that it was just tough and unpleasant. Managing about half of the meat I tried the bun and was faced with a mouthful of thick, paste like mayonnaise that was hidden under a limp lettuce leaf. The bun under that had burned grill marks so either someone took their eye off the grill while cooking or it hadn’t been cleaned in a while. The whole burger was unpleasant and bitter with really strange textures.
The fries were passable. They were a little over cooked and you didn’t really get the skin on effect but I wasn’t expecting much to be honest. I tried the sweet potato fries and they were a massive disappointment. Sweet potato fries should be quite chunky and soft so you do get that sweetness through but these were really thin and really over cooked so tasted a bit like cardboard.
The piri-mayo was again paste like and you didn’t get much of the chilli flavour. To be honest, I would have preferred a dollop of ketchup (they do provide extra condiments) or real mayo and that the piri-mayo wasn’t placed on the plate.
Moo says his burger was fine. I don’t know how much to believe him, as he was so hungry that he finished my burger and told me after that it was in fact terrible but edible seeing as he loves McDonald’s – his words not mine.
We promptly asked for the bill and left fairly disappointed as this was supposed to be a treat. We were even more disappointed when we realised we could have gone to GBK for the same amount and had a nice, thick slab of beef or chicken with a nice, bouncy bun and fairly decent chips.
There were things we saw other people eating that looked nice but our meal was just really disappointing. Maybe it’s just that branch or maybe it’s just not my thing. I just know that next time we’re in Holland Park, we’ll just walk to Portabello and go somewhere else.