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Eating out: The Giraffe, Bury St Edmunds

PUBLISHED: 13:01 19 July 2010 | UPDATED: 17:33 20 February 2013

Eating out: The Giraffe, Bury St Edmunds

Eating out: The Giraffe, Bury St Edmunds

Richard Bryson sticks his neck out and recommends a family-friendly Giraffe

Richard Bryson sticks his neck out and recommends a family-friendly Giraffe

It might be enlightening to sit in on the launch of a new restaurant chain. The big question: What to call it? For instance, I wonder how many surveys and brainstorming sessions went into the name Giraffe, but the answer according to the companys website seems to be very little. Apparently one of the owners just wanted to have a restaurant called Giraffe and his partners liked the idea of somewhere relaxed where people could have a coffee, and freshly cooked food, at any time of day all to the spirited sounds of world music.
The thinking was you could imagine yourself being anywhere from Sydney to Israel somewhere sunny and full of smiles.
The trouble for me is that Giraffe used to be Tootsies (in Bury St Edmunds, that is) and Im curious as to why a new chain, sharing much of the rationale of the previous one, seems to be succeeding where its predecessor failed. Giraffe bought out Toosties a year or so back.
But this is not a page about the intricacies of marketing and business so we will move on and get to the nitty gritty. Among the dozen or so new chain restaurants that have appeared in Bury St Edmunds over the past few years, is this one worth visiting?
It stands among a row of fast food options near to the towns multi-screen cinema and Arc shopping centre, so inevitably you get a modern exterior and interior of glass, metal and brick bathed in warm colours, in particular a sunglow orange presumably reminiscent of hot days on the veld. On the early spring evening we visited, I found it rather welcoming and soothing and we liked our cosy, elevated corner seating too. The menus match the decor, all bright shades and attention-grabbing type faces.
Just as sunny were our waiters and waitresses. Sometimes the staff in these kind of establishments can be rather glum and robotic but here they were cheery and full of smiles. They also got the orders right.
The food is mainly burgers and chicken but its well presented and served with a little invention. We started with a platter of barbecue ribs a tasty, sticky indulgence and moved on to the mains where I had a handmade Beef and Abbot Ale pie with mash and gravy (apparently only on the menu in six other of the restaurants, perhaps due to the availability of Greene King ales).
It was very good (a generous proportion of tender beef) and very reasonably priced too at 8.95. I know of a few gastropubs in the area who would charge 12 or more for such a dish.
Around the table our children tried the Classic Burger but also a Herb Chicken Schnitzel BLT burger, an impressive, if slightly top heavy, stack of crispy chicken, bacon, melted cheddar, relish, mayo, lettuce, tomato and red onion. Oh, and if you have the room, it comes with chips.
The burgers are mighty enough for the biggest appetites and all priced under 10.
For the non-meat eaters in your party there is always something like oak-smoked salmon, brown sushi rice, avocado, cucumber, radish, baby spinach, green onion, toasted sesame seeds on crispy nori with wasabi and soy dressing. My wife tried it and seemed to think it was a better option than our calorie-laden feasts.
She is entitled to her opinion.
With a rather lovely pannacotta, and a variety of cheesecakes for dessert, plus a Budweiser, a glass or two of the house red and some soft drinks, our bill for five was around 100.
We rather pushed the boat out but you could easily manage a good family meal out here for about 20 less.
And in answer to that earlier question, yes, its a chain restaurant well worth visting.

Giraffe, Parkway, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk , IP33 3BA. Tel: 01284 753013.


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