Giraffe, Trinity Leeds – Restaurant Review
Giraffe, Trinity Leeds
by Rebecca Tredget
The newest branch of Giraffe (and the company’s second Leeds restaurant) is on the top level ‘food court’ of Trinity Shopping Centre, the city’s newest shopping experience.
The restaurant is an attractive mix of casual booths and tables. Lots of wood, neutral tones and wicker, alongside an ‘outside’ area, presumably for when summer finally arrives. We have a table booked for 8pm and the restaurant is a hubbub of people, many laden with shopping bags.
We are seated in a booth by the open kitchen which is great fun. It means we can take a sneaky look at all the food coming out. The menu is hugely varied – perhaps too varied. I’m wary of restaurants that try to be everything to everyone. ‘Everything’ often ends up meaning ‘average’. Giraffe’s menu features Spanish, Mediterranean, American, Tex Mex, Asian, Italian, grill, plus a few more. But I prepare to hold off judgement until I actually try some food.
“A great touch”
Giraffe also have a huge range of drinks. It is nice to see so much variety for non-alcoholic drinkers rather than the token Coca Cola/7Up. However, it is a Friday night so we bypass that section of the menu. I start off with a Mango Lime Daiquiri (£6.95) which tastes of fresh mangoes with a zing of lime and rum. My date goes for a bottle of Cusqueña (£3.95). We later move onto the house white wine, Airen Blanco Albali (£14.95 for a bottle). It is a perfectly pleasant, drinkable and good value wine. But perhaps it hasn’t been chilled for quite long enough, despite being in the ice bucket.
For starters we opt to share the Nachos Nirvana with Crispy Chorizo (£9.10), along with the Garlic Focaccia ‘Chips’ (£3.95). The nachos are piled high on a wooden board. A more than adequate size for the both of us to share. The tortilla chips are home-made and deliciously spiced. Heaped high on top is guacamole, salsa, sour cream, melted cheese and fresh red jalapeños, giving it a fiery edge. If that wasn’t enough there is also a vegetarian chilli, sweetcorn, black beans and slices of crispy chorizo. The beans are a great touch – not something you often find on restaurant nachos – and the smoky, meaty chorizo finishes the dish off perfectly.
“Packed full to the brim”
For mains both my date and I ordere burgers. I go for the Avec Cheese (£10.50) with an addition of Sliced Avocado (£1.65). My date decides on the The Rodeo Chicken Burger (£11.25), again with some added Sliced Avocado (£1.65). My burger is packed high with crispy lettuce and pickles, along with some juicy sliced tomato in a soft, plump bun. I am impressed that the avocado is perfectly ripe. I find little more disappointing than an under-ripe avocado. The main event, though, is the burger. A thick, meaty, smoky, patty perfectly seasoned – everything a good burger should be. Slightly charred on the outside and still juicy on the inside with a thick coat of melted mature cheddar.
The burgers come with a tomato relish and the option of skin on or sweet potato fries. I go for skin on and I am treated to a little pot of steaming, crispy moreish fries with a sweet and smoky tomato relish. My date’s Rodeo Chicken Burger is packed full to the brim with mushrooms, melted cheese, crispy lettuce, sliced tomato, bbq sauce and fried onion rings, along with the creamy avocado. Although I wasn’t privy to any he tells me it is all fantastic. This includes the grilled chicken breast which is tender and moist without drying out – no mean feat. He decides to go for the Sweet Potato Fries which are crispy and brilliantly seasoned. In fact he’s still waxing lyrical about them.
“Lovely warm undertone”
For dessert I order the Rocky Road Sundae (£5.95) and my dining partner goes for the Banana Waffle Split (£5.25). When the puddings arrive I nearly stumble. They are big – I mean really big! My sundae is a huge glass filled high with brownie pieces, mini marshmallows, strawberries, chocolate sauce and chocolate and vanilla ice cream. The brownie is lovely and crispy on the outside with a gooey chocolate centre. The ice cream is also delicious, especially the vanilla which has flecks of vanilla bean running throughout. I shamefully devour the entire thing.
My dining partner’s dish was a delicious buttery hot waffle topped with vanilla ice cream and caramelised banana with chocolate and butterscotch sauce. It has a lovely warm undertone of cinnamon running through and again was entirely demolished.
At the beginning of our meal I was quietly (okay, perhaps not that quietly) cynical about my expectations of Giraffe. I was dreading mediocre food served by unenthusiastic staff. However, what we get is delicious food that we couldn’t put down. It is served to us by genuinely friendly and helpful staff. I’d like to go back to double check that it wasn’t a fluke. But next time I won’t be so cynical.
0113 234 1122
A 3 course meal for 2 included 2 drinks and a bottles of wine was roughly £75