on the hottest day of the year so far, i panicked because i had no other plans, so did the safe thing and went indoors where there was bound to be air conditioning, and no direct sunlight. (i am australian. we're told from birth that the sun will kill you.) thanks to some vouchers winging their way into my letterbox earlier in the week, i had a hot date with bex and giraffe's new spring menu to get to; i'd managed to find iced coffee and a shady path the whole way to spitalfields market, where my careful planning took a turn for the worst.
i mean, i seems a lot of other people kind of had the same idea as me, and the market was absolutely heaving. i would have though that the city's parks and green spaces and converted car park beer gardens where the places to be seen on the hottest day of the year, not spitalfields market, but i've been wrong before. don't tell anyone though.
we were seated deep in the restaurant, away from any natural light (hence the yellowish pics), and right under the air conditioning. to celebrate, we ordered some ice cold and fruity cock(and mock)tails to remind us that it was scorching outside, and lovely and cool inside. i went for a strawberry and basil daiquiri (£6.75)(though i'd ordered the bramble garden but they'd run out of gin - in england?!) and a minty lemonade (£2.25), while bex chose the non-alcoholic elderflower collins (£3.95) to set the mood. the basic summary of all: refreshing' we will take a second round of everything in a moment, thank you kindly.
and because our eyes are bigger than our bellies (and because: seriously, it was mega hot and who can ever eat a lot of food in the heat?), we ordered too many starters. we kicked off the meal with salt and pepper squid with a deeelish chilli jam and fresh lime (£8.95 large portion to share)(i could have eaten the whole portion myself), grilled halloumi skewers (£4.50) with a pea, courgette and mint salad, and a warm butternut squash and feta salad (£4.95) with pomegranate seeds and chopped nuts.
as we were sharing these, we piled portions of each dish onto our pretty (and artfully wonky) side plates, and got shovelling the tasty foods into our faces. i'm not a big halloumi fan - it's just so damn noisy when you eat it. i mean, why so squeaky? but, the chilli jam from the squid dish was to absolutely die for, and so dipping every single thing we could into it was the order of the day. did it make the halloumi less squeaky? no it did not. was it tasty as hell? yes it was.
the crispy squid was waaaay better than the last serve i had, and despite being pretty full and knowing there was another course coming shortly, i made sure to not leave any of those deliciously-fried morsels behind. the salad was the perfect accompaniment to the squid and the cheese starters, and the warm squash and feta really melted in the mouth. after three of these simple yet tasty dishes, we were pretty much satisfied! our drinks had been topped up, and we were comfortably full. we should have stopped there.
except we didn't. rather than cancel our mains because we're good citizens and look after our bodies, we said nothing and sat and watched as my half rack of bbq ribs (£15.50) with salsa and sweet potato fries and bex's huevos rancheros (£8.95) with jack cheese, chorizo, black beans, salsa, avo and fried egg were delivered to the table. oh, and a side of fries (£3.50) because her trainer told her she should eat chips. so she ordered chips.
i mean, the ribs were utterly delicious. the meat fell away from the bone, and the saucy was super tasty and flavourful, i just could not eat any more. i dipped a sweet potato fry in the sauce, thinking that would be one way to eat the meal, but - almost thankfully, they weren't actually that nice. they were soft on the outside and not quite cooked enough on the inside, so there were no qualms from me about leaving them behind. i managed to pass some of the ribs off to bex too, thus making the amount left on my plate seem a lot less, and man - that girl can eat. it's an art, really. it's beautiful.
so, we sat and digested what we could while waitresses doted and offered to take the almost-full plates away; we tried to shuffle some food around the dishes to make ourselves feel less-wasteful, but to no avail - we were done in. we apologised profusely, and made our way out into the stifling day.
to say we were uncomfortably full would be an understatement. i always find over indulging on tasty food to be the biggest foodie no-no, because you lose track of all the good memories and positives of the dishes when you're trying to focus on not unbuttoning your trousers in public or laying horizontal on the tube just so you can digest, but sometimes it can't be helped. this was one of those times.
the food and accompanying service was faultless, it was us who overdid it. in five years in london, that was my first time in a giraffe. and, considering my love for world foods, i'm glad this has now been remedied! at every stage of the menu there was a complete range of foodie options from across the globe - from asian, to west indian, to tex-mex and from the mediterranean, and so to say there's "quite a variety of dishes" would be a total understatement.
a massive thanks to the team at giraffe in shoreditch for having us in for lunch, and for overlooking the cardinal sin of leaving an entire plate of sweet potato fries behind. i will definitely be back in your safe hands soon, and i promise that next time i will take it easy on the starters!