If you want a quiet meal out to relax and unwind on a Saturday afternoon, then don't come to Giraffe on London's Southbank. Giraffe is loud. And I mean loud. Giraffe is a wonderfully child-friendly restaurant that welcomes prams, high chairs, babies, toddlers, tweens and everything in between. Add all that together and you get one noisy restaurant. Luckily, if you have an equally loud little one yourself, you fit right in.
As usual, my visit involved lunch with a friend while juggling a baby who needed, at various points during my meal, feeding, watering, changing and a sleep. I managed all of this with a little help from the lovely staff here. They found us a table with space for the pram, helped heat up his lunch that I'd brought with me, and were generally very helpful. Somehow, among the noise and against the odds, my exhausted 8 month old fell asleep. I was able to order and eat while he snoozed away. Perhaps the noise lulled him to sleep.
Giraffe calls itself a 'world restaurant' and has a lot of choice on its menu. Now, generally too much choice worries me, as I think that trying to do too much in the kitchen often results in not doing anything very well. I'm happy to say that the food here is actually really good. Both myself and my friend ordered the Spicy Rice Bowl. I added some chicken. We both felt that for a spicy rice bowl, it actually wasn't very spicy, but the staff happily brought us fresh chili to throw in. It was lovely, fresh and healthy. They sell one of my favourite non-alcoholic drinks in the form of Orchard Pig's Sparkling Apple and Elderflower. Clearly it's no substitute for wine, but it's a decent stand in. As you would imagine, Giraffe have a great kids menu too and the food is pretty reasonably priced.
Once you're finished your meal, you emerge back on to London's Southbank where the Thames, and views towards the London Eye and Houses of Parliament await. Giraffe and a walk along the river really is a lovely way to spend a winter's afternoon with the kids - as long as you don't mind a bit of noise.