Princesshay Shopping Centre is the gleaming modern jewel in the centre of Exeter’s shopping experience. With restaurants and fine High Street names, it replaced the tattered pre-war complex that some of us Exonians still remember with a bizarre nostalgic fondness.
When the modern Princesshay opened, with it also opened Giraffe with its slightly westernised versions of world specialities, it was the start of the arrival of the big chain restaurants in Exeter.
I have a few good memories of Giraffe when it first opened, and I even wrote a review quite a few years ago for my old blog Veget8. Naturally since then it has moved on and changed, and it was great to be invited along to have a look at what has changed since it first opened back in 2007.
Since my first visit all those years ago, it has rebranded itself as Giraffe World Kitchen which has helped solidify itself as a place to go to get a wide range or world cuisine offerings, all of them excellent value.
Not much has changed as far as the building itself. Three of the four walls are fronted with glass giving an excellent vista of passing shoppers and part of the ancient city wall. There is al fresco dining available, perfect for whiling away a summer evening.
As chain restaurants go this is certainly one of my favorites in Exeter. It is casual dining at its most casual, with a fantastic menu that covers all continents it is also excellent value given many main meals are under £10.
We kicked proceedings off with bottle of Rosé wine and an Espresso Martini £6.95 (Absolut Vanilla vodka, Kahlua liqueur and a fresh espresso shot over ice) which was a perfect start to our enjoyable meal.
For starters Tori went for Steamed Duck Gua Bao Buns £6.95 (soft steamed buns filled with crispy shredded duck, cucumber, peanuts, spring onion and rich hoisin sauce) and I predictably went for Nachos £7.95 (black bean chilli, Monterey Jack, guacamole, sour cream, jalapenos and chipotle).
The Steamed Duck Gua Bao Buns were a definite hit with the other side of the table. We had first been properly introduced with Bao Buns at the Absurd Bird blogger night a couple of years ago, and this was another chance to try this oriental culinary staple. I was very happy with my large mountain of Nachos, well seasoned and cooked well.
For our mains we were both in need of Bowl For Soul food! Tori went for the Katsu Chicken £11.95 (breaded chicken and noodles in a mild peanut & coconut sauce, with bok choy, tenderstem broccoli and wok-fried vegetables) and I couldn’t help myself but went for the Thai Duck Stir Fry £10.95 (shredded duck and noodles with chilli jam, bok choy, crispy onions and wok-fried vegetables in teriyaki sauce).
The menu is incredibly diverse. It truly represents a classic dish from each continent of the world – they are also going to lengths to cater for those of us with dietary requirements too.
The food was well cooked and tasty – the menu itself is fantastic value for money, and even though the cost is on the lower end of the spectrum, it didn’t effect the quality or portions.
We went for desserts too, a lovely finish to a satisfying experience.
Tori went for a Whoopie Cookie £4.95 (speculoos biscuit ice cream sandwiched between chocolate cookies. With chocolate sauce, caramel popcorn and pretzels) and I plumped for the Salted Caramel Sundae £5.95 (salted caramel ice cream layered with caramel popcorn and pretzel pieces).
So they ran out of pretzels, but instead we got double popcorn on our dessert.
Paul and Tom were amazing in their service, so helpful and friendly throughout the whole evening. The evening service seemed quiet and surprisingly so for one of Exeter’s better chain restaurants which is a telling tale of restaurants throughout the city, whether a big High Street name or a unique independent.
Giraffe World Kitchen is a good casual dining restaurant which presents excellent value for money, their menu is well thought out and not overly pricey. Perfect for lunch, coffee or a nice evening meal.
This meal was paid for by Giraffe World Kitchens but the opinions expressed here are independent of influence from the restaurant.