Our weekly columnist visits the family-friendly restaurant to check out the menu for the bigs and the smalls
Eating out with little ones can be something of a challenge - or maybe that’s just eating out with my two. Ethan is four and incredibly fussy, while Logan is two and eats pretty much anything. Sometimes mealtimes are fairly calm, but more often than not the boys turn into wild, feral whirlwinds and we eat as quickly as we can then leave to avoid upsetting other diners.
But, on a trip back to Scotland to catch up with family and friends we decided to brave a restaurant visit. As we had some shopping to do we headed to the Giraffe restaurant at Glasgow Silverburn along with my sister and my mum – this meal was covering all the generations. I hadn’t realised that Tesco had acquired giraffe a couple of years ago and the previous store cafe had been upgraded. It might have shared toilets with the supermarket but other than that it didn’t feel like you were in the store with the distinctive giraffe furniture and branding.
Ethan and Logan kept busy
On previous trips to South Africa we’ve discovered restaurant chains that have amazing play areas for children with dedicated staff to keep an eye on yours. Sadly that doesn’t exist for any UK eateries, that I have come across, but Giraffe is still family-friendly with books and colouring-in options for children. That tends to work better on girls than boys, who are less willing to sit still when they can romp.
With step-free access it’s buggy-friendly, there’s free Wi-fi and decent baby changing facilities. Plus if you’ve forgotten anything, well, here at least, Tesco is just next door!
What makes it nicer than other 'child-friendly places' is the menu. Lots of fresh, healthy options with plenty of choices for vegetarians or those after gluten free. And it’s all reasonably priced as well. The kids menu makes a welcome change from the usual kids fare. Move over chicken nuggets and chips! Though we didn’t stray too far and opted for the grilled chicken breast and the 'twist and jive' pasta. The plan being to mix and match, so the kids would get half of each and hopefully enjoy at least one thing.
Both opted to munch on the chicken and didn’t go big for the pasta, but I wisely asked to take the rest of the pasta home, and that was dinner sorted. As for me, I enjoyed a very tasty falafel, feta and roasted red pepper quesadilla while my meat-loving South African husband made quick work of the half rack of BBQ baby back ribs.
One of my favourite things about Giraffe, is the drinks menu – it was hard to choose between their delicious smoothies and the fresh lemonade with mint. It’s also hard to pick a cocktail, but this was lunchtime. If you are lucky enough to go in the evening without children, things are much more civilised. The boys wanted apple juice which came in child-friendly plastic cups with lids and straws – this place knows its audience and was minimising spillages! They were also given the iconic colourful plastic giraffes.
A kids burger and chips
The staff at Giraffe were lovely, efficient and helpful. Anything we asked for was ‘no bother’, a classic west of Scotland phrase. There were plenty of high chairs - not that I managed to keep Logan in his for long. Once the boys ate their ice cream, their Dad whisked them away to burn off some energy in the mall, allowing me some quality time with my big sister and my mum.
As we left, my mum declared she’d definitely go back and asked me again what the restaurant was called. For some reason, the 10ft high giraffe outside wasn’t enough of a reminder...
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Kirsty McCabe writes her weekly column here on www.juniormagazine.co.uk. Follow us on Twitter: @juniormagazine to keep up with the latest news
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