Not so long ago I travelled through Manchester Airport and had a dreadful experience at The Grain Loft for breakfast. This time, on the way to Spain we were in the same terminal around lunchtime. After a short scout around, we settled on another chain – Giraffe. It’s not that I dislike the name; I hate it. The one type of food that is clearly missing is African cuisine – not even a tagine. There is no real theming – apart from the font and the welded entrance archway there is no obvious connection. I’m sure I’m missing something obvious because surely it can’t be named just to get toddlers to annoy their parents as they go past.
Anyway, enough Mr Angry. Antonio was an excellent attentive waiter who gently upsold but gave us enough to time to go through the menu. There is a lot of stuff on it that is vaguely exotic – gyoza starter, Goan curry, brown rice bowls…erm…burrito. It’s just a weird thrown together menu and so maybe the Giraffe name works but this is definitely safari park rather than safari. It’s the kind of place you can take grandad and he’ll find something to eat that can persuade the youngsters he is adventurous without any real danger.
Needless to say I avoid the wilder extremes and went for a grilled chicken ‘club’ sandwich (their inverted commas not mine) which contained grilled chicken, carrot, beetroot, avocado and leaves in an aioli mayo. All in a toasted ciabatta. I opted for sweet potato fries rather than the standard ones.
Grain Loft take note! The ciabatta was toasted. The chicken showed signs and taste of being grilled. It was a tasty sandwich which contained the promised ingredients. Not a lot to ask and, bearing in mind they are very close to each other they could well share staff and a kitchen. But I am a happy bunny. I expect to get ripped off in the airport and at £10.45 for chicken sandwich and fries they certainly do. That they charge an extra £1 for the sweet potato fries is to be expected. What wasn’t expected was that the sweet potato fries were great – possibly the best I’ve had. They had a nice crunchy coating and were quite thin but weren’t falling apart under pressure. I’m guessing they were floured and deep fried very hot. With some of the accompanying hot sauces they were fab.
A main course for 4 with drinks was £60 with a fiver tip for Antonio. The giraffe famously surprised 19th century audiences because it looks like other animals stuck together – the Camelopard – and the menu certainly is. Maybe it makes some sense after all and it’s the best we’ve eaten in Manchester airport so far.