We were invited to eat at the new Giraffe in Leeds by the PR company that takes care of their publicity. I’ve been a few times to the other Giraffe restaurants in London so was interested to see what the Leeds outpost was like.
Does Leeds really need another chain restaurant? That was the overriding thought for me. They’re ten a penny and the quality varies wildly from one to another. The flip side is that they do set the bar for good surroundings, staff training and quality of service, making life hard for the independents (as if it wasn’t hard enough).
So what was it like? Well firstly this is a grown up Bar and Grill version of the Giraffe chain. The only one outside London we were told and the style and quality of the interior design confirms that these guys have deep pockets and have ambition.
The food was a revelation too. Taking aside that we were being looked after we were very pleasantly surprised. I chose a large portioned Calamari to start which to be honest was a little bland but acceptable. For mains JD opted for a Cobb sandwich and thought I’d test the skill of the Grill chef with a rib steak. Both mains were excellent I have to say and the steak perfectly cooked and from a good source.
Service at all times was attentive and friendly as you’d expect with a third full restaurant. The bill for two including a bottle of house red ( which was good value too) was just over £50 which we felt was decent value given the quality and enjoyment of the experience.
So does Leeds need another chain restaurant? Well the answer is probably not but there are plenty of other substandard chain outposts in Leeds that should make way for Giraffe Bar and Grill. It certainly sets a high standard in the overall quality of the dining experience, surprisingly trumping Jamie’s and Carluccio’s for a start.
In the highly competitive dining market of Leeds, Giraffe adds another option for the diner looking for a mid range, good priced, relaxed experience.