Before Christmas I was invited to review the Christmas menu at Giraffe Inverness, but having recently moved 100 miles north we’re not in the position of being able to nip down at short notice. However the nice people at Wildcard PR said I could delay my visit until a suitable time, so we made a new year visit when we were passing through Inverness last week to sample their menu. Giraffe pride themselves on offering a wide selection of world cuisine on their menu and while we were able to choose from their menu – it was actually their set menu which grabbed our attention. We thought there was a pretty good flavour representation on this menu to accommodate all tastes, for either £9.95 (2 courses) or £12.95 (3 courses).
While we sipped on our drinks (a thick mango lassi for me and a good housemade sparkling lemonade for Mr B) and decided what we were going to eat, I was struck by the different groups enjoying their lunches – groups of workers, students and families were all in, so it’s a popular choice for many. Giraffe Inverness is actually attached to a Tesco within a large retail park, so it’s a good spot to get a coffee or a meal before you embark on a shopping trip. When you are inside the restaurant, it’s easy to forget that due to the bright eyecatching decor, catchy world tunes and activities for wee ones (unless you are right next to the interior windows which look out onto the checkouts).
Choices made to our friendly servers, we had a short wait for our starters. I couldn’t resist choosing the steamed buns and while these weren’t as light as some I’ve tried at some Japanese restaurants, there was a generous portion of sweet duck coupled with the crunch of peanuts and cucumber, garnished with fresh coriander, chilli and spring onion in both buns.
Mr B couldn’t partake in the buns due to his nut allergy, but he did opt for the other Japanese choice on the menu – Yaki Gyoza. 5 dumplings filled with chicken and accompanied with both a miso orange glae and a sweet chilli dipping sauce. We were impressed with the size and presentation of the starters.
Using our drinks to refresh our palates, we were ready for some different flavours in our main courses. Mexican is one of Mr B’s absolute favourite cusines so I was unsurprised to hear that he ordered the enchilada and he was very happy with this – as you can see the skillet is very generously topped with fresh herbs and salsa.
I love trying streetfood dishes so I went for the bengali Kati roll – cumin-roasted cauliflower, chickpeas, pomegranate, red onion and coriander served in a soft naan, with yoghurt and chutney on the side. I added in the chicken strips and would have liked it to have been cooked with the cauliflower and chickpeas so the chicken could have taken on some of that spice in the cooking process but it was still really tasty and the radish and tomato salad also freshened up the platter. The yoghurt also was good to have on the plate – the spice level was just right for me but could be handy to cool things down if your tolerance of spice is a bit lower than mine!
To finish, Mr B took the recommendation of our server of having the whoopie cookie alongside his double espresso – Speculoos biscuit ice cream sandwiched between chocolate cookies,with chocolate sauce, caramel popcorn and pretzels. It was a great combination texture and flavour wise but was slightly let down by the cookie being cold on the inside (it was warm on the outside which was really good against the cold icecream!)
I finished my meal with churros and dulce de leche dipping sauce – 5 churros was the perfect amount to scrape out every bit of dipping sauce!
We had a great time at Giraffe. It’s been one of my favourites for over a decade and while I do prefer supporting independent restaurants wherever possible, Giraffe has the best selection of fresh, well cooked world food out there and would be in my top ‘brand’ restaurants to visit. With the great value of the set menu on offer, it’s a great place to try out a whole range of different cuisines and with almost 70 branches in the UK, hopefully there is one near you!
I was invited to try the Giraffe menu in exhange for a review blog post. All opinions are my own.