“ Address: Riverside / The Oracle / Reading / RG1 2AG / Berkshire / England „
I visit the Oracle in Reading often as it is a middle ground between me and London - and there is always something everyone wants to do (such as shopping, going into Reading town centre, bars or restaurants.
I decided to try Giraffe because I had not heard of it before, and the menu looked very eclectic.. there is a little bit of everything from indian, chinese, burger-style food, and italian plus more - and when I walked in I was not particularly 'wowed' - we went along during the early afternoon and were taken to a table which faced the kichen/cooking area - which was good because I like to see that food is being prepared freshly, and wanted to see the dishes as they were being taken, but it was not very busy and I guess maybe that is why I felt that there wasn't much of an atmosphere there... I'm not sure? From outside it certainly looked lively with the artwork on the walls, and orange decor... I also liked the giraffe stirrers which came in our smoothies, but I really am struggling to find something I liked about the place.
Either way, when it came to choosing from the menu - I was not particularly taken by anything - I had wanted to eat there thinking that as they serve a little of everything - I'm sure to find something I like, but it appeared to me that they have almost selected one dish from each genre of food in the hope of satisfying the masses (I may be wrong). Anyway, I decided to play it safe with a starter and then see how I felt. I ordered the chicken tikka, and we had salad on the side... My friend ordered some type of burger with fries, which looked impressive and all the food was presented really well... but my chicken tikka was (I'm sorry to say) tasteless... It looked like chicken tikka and was on skewers, but seemed as though it had not been marinated properly and I struggled to eat any of it. I did think perhaps I was being overly fussy, and asked my friend to try one of the skewers, and the verdict was 'its not as expected' - the burger on the other hand was lovely....!! (just my luck!)
As a result I did not order anything more and left the restaurant hugely disappointed... which is a shame because it looked like such a fun and lovely place...
We also tested their mocktails, of which they have about five - mine was nice and came in a huge glass, but wasnt amazingly fantastic - just a fruity drink. My friend chose a citrusy mocktail (of which i took one sip of and quickly reverted back to mine!!)
In terms of prices - considering I had only had a starter and mocktail, my friend had had a mocktail, starter and the burger, we spent around £18 - not really worth it as i have eaten at other restaurants around the Oracle which have cost less or similar but been significantly better value-for-money with both food and levels of service...
Oh, and before I forget, we barely saw the staff other than when they seated us, took our orders, delivered our food and took payment -maybe they were understaffed but i was not impressed at all - especially considering the restaurant wasnt full at all (midweek around 3pm) I did expect better.
Giraffe Restaurant in Reading opened in December 2008, and being
situated on the riverside at the Oracle Centre, it is surrounded by a
plethora of other restaurants from Japanese to Italian via fast food.
I suppose in this mix Giraffe could be described as a bit of
everything, I personally think that Giraffe restaurants are a nice
place to eat, this branch being no exception.
The brand started out in London as far as I know, and I used to eat
regularly in the Richmond branch which was non-smoking for the sake of
the food back in the days before that was law. The vibe of the brand
is world food with music in the restaurants to match.
The Reading venue is in a rather potentially soulless, being a rather
high ceilinged new building, however with good use of decor and rather
bright orange accents, artwork and funky chairs they have managed to
make it seem quite welcoming. There is a bar down one side of the
restaurant and along the back you can see some of the dishes being
cooked, all in a quite busy atmosphere - when I have eaten there the
mix has been families and the work crowd - I tend to eat there during
the day or early evening so later at night there may be a different
You can see the menu online at www.giraffe.net, but there is a good
mix from burgers, club sandwiches, salads, enchilladas, pizzas, pasta
and lasagna. They do a lunch special for adults which I had on my
most recent visit. AT £6.95 for a drink and club sandwich and wedges
this is very good value. they also do a brunch and specials from
5-7pm where there is a deal for a starter and main for £7.25, which
seems quite good value to me.
It is slightly high end diner food with a "world" twist - so dips and
sauces for example, haute cuisine it isn't, but the ingredients are
fresh and it is not fussy food. There is bound to be something to
suit every taste.
The children's food is particularly good - far from being the usual
nuggets and chips there is a good range of actual fresh ingredients,
salmon fillet for example with mash and vegetables, there is also brunch, good old sausage and chips or veggie sausage and chips and burgers. Enough fresh vegetables to make a welcome change with enough chips and the like for kids to be attracted to the food. All this is £5.50 for a meal, drink and dessert. The plastic giraffet stirrer that comes with the drinks seems to be a winner with my kids!
Generally I think the food is good, and everything is well prepared and portions are on the generous side.
Service at this restaurant has always been very good when I have eaten here. The staff are friendly, helpful and efficient and quick to serve you with a smile. There are high chairs available and colouring for children - though not child sized cutlery, the restaurant is child friendly rather than being child dominated.
This restaurant provides a pleasant eating experience and is good value for money. I quite like the world music and funky atmosphere and always enjoy my meals here. You can sign up to the newsletter at www.giraffe.net.. If you are shopping the Oracle I thoroughly recommend Giraffe as being a nice place to stop for a break.
The menu is filled with a large selection of global dishes to tempt everyone's appetite.