Giraffe World Kitchen, Princesshay by Chris Gower

Tel: 01392 494 222  Princesshay, Exeter, EX1 1GE @giraffetweet

Princesshay Shopping Centre is the gleaming modern jewel in the centre of Exeter’s shopping experience.  With restaurants and fine High Street names, it replaced the tattered pre-war complex that some of us Exonians still remember with a bizarre nostalgic fondness.

When the modern Princesshay opened, with it also opened Giraffe with its slightly westernised versions of world specialities, it was the start of the arrival of the big chain restaurants in Exeter.

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I have a few good memories of Giraffe when it first opened, and I even wrote a review quite a few years ago for my old blog Veget8.  Naturally since then it has moved on and changed, and it was great to be invited along to have a look at what has changed since it first opened back in 2007.

Since my first visit all those years ago, it has rebranded itself as Giraffe World Kitchen which has helped solidify itself as a place to go to get a wide range or world cuisine offerings, all of them excellent value.

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Not much has changed as far as the building itself.  Three of the four walls are fronted with glass giving an excellent vista of passing shoppers and part of the ancient city wall. There is al fresco dining available, perfect for whiling away a summer evening.

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As chain restaurants go this is certainly one of my favorites in Exeter.  It is casual dining at its most casual, with a fantastic menu that covers all continents it is also excellent value given many main meals are under £10.

We kicked proceedings off with bottle of Rosé wine and an Espresso Martini £6.95 (Absolut Vanilla vodka, Kahlua liqueur and a fresh espresso shot over ice) which was a perfect start to our enjoyable meal.

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For starters Tori went for Steamed Duck Gua Bao Buns £6.95 (soft steamed buns filled with crispy shredded duck, cucumber, peanuts, spring onion and rich hoisin sauce) and I predictably went for Nachos £7.95 (black bean chilli, Monterey Jack, guacamole, sour cream, jalapenos and chipotle).

The Steamed Duck Gua Bao Buns were a definite hit with the other side of the table. We had first been properly introduced with Bao Buns at the Absurd Bird blogger night a couple of years ago, and this was another chance to try this oriental culinary staple.  I was very happy with my large mountain of Nachos, well seasoned and cooked well.

For our mains we were both in need of Bowl For Soul food!  Tori went for the Katsu Chicken £11.95 (breaded chicken and noodles in a mild peanut & coconut sauce, with bok choy, tenderstem broccoli and wok-fried vegetables) and I couldn’t help myself but went for the Thai Duck Stir Fry £10.95  (shredded duck and noodles with chilli jam, bok choy, crispy onions and wok-fried vegetables in teriyaki sauce).

The menu is incredibly diverse. It truly represents a classic dish from each continent of the world – they are also going to lengths to cater for those of us with dietary requirements too.

The food was well cooked and tasty – the menu itself is fantastic value for money, and even though the cost is on the lower end of the spectrum, it didn’t effect the quality or portions.

We went for desserts too, a lovely finish to a satisfying experience.

Tori went for a Whoopie Cookie £4.95 (speculoos biscuit ice cream sandwiched between chocolate cookies. With chocolate sauce, caramel popcorn and pretzels) and I plumped for the  Salted Caramel Sundae £5.95 (salted caramel ice cream layered with caramel popcorn and pretzel pieces).

So they ran out of pretzels, but instead we got double popcorn on our dessert.

Paul and Tom were amazing in their service, so helpful and friendly throughout the whole evening.  The evening service seemed quiet and surprisingly so for one of Exeter’s better chain restaurants which is a telling tale of restaurants throughout the city, whether a big High Street name or a unique independent.

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Giraffe World Kitchen is a good casual dining restaurant which presents excellent value for money, their menu is well thought out and not overly pricey.  Perfect for lunch, coffee or a nice evening meal.

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This meal was paid for by Giraffe World Kitchens but the opinions expressed here are independent of influence from the restaurant.

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House Wong, Bonhay Road

EE Recommends

House Wong, 100 Bonhay Rd, Exeter, Devon, EX4 4BL  01392 435682Open 5:00pm – 10:30pm everyday apart from Tuesday.

Eating Exeter is not just about fine/casual dining restaurants with local ingredients and local produce.  Sometimes we go that extra mile for the readers to bring you a comprehensive guide to where to eat in Exeter, even if they don’t take debit cards.

Exeter has a fair number of Chinese takeaways dotted throughout the city.  The ‘traditional’ British Chinese takeaway serves a greasier version of what is considered traditional Chinese cuisine, and like the curries of India, we have westernised it to our liking. It is not too weird, and includes things that we’re familiar with.  Most of the flavours are acceptable to a western palette and there are no surprises, generally.  They are as synonymous to Britain as Fish & Chip Shops, red telephone boxes, The Monarchy and saying sorry a lot.

We’ve used various takeaway services over the last year.  Deliveroo is great, couldn’t recommend them enough.  JustEat is generally OK, but we’ve had a few problems with them in the past.  But if you’re willing to go and collect your food, then a world of opportunity opens up.
There are still loads of great takeaways who have not bought in to the online delivery concept, and House Wong is one of them.  There is no online review until now, in fact (and this is often the case for many Chinese takeaways) I am not sure there is any online presence at all apart from inclusion on various business listing websites.  Neither is there an official online menu (we did find one, but all the prices were very out of date, and it cost a lot more than we had anticipated).

When I was growing up, we used to get our takeaway from The Bamboo Fryer in Topsham.  It was always crazily busy and always really good, and then went downhill after it changed hands. Supposedly.  That was nearly 18 years ago, so don’t take that as an official recommendation, but the value of the ‘treat’ was there, and for me, it still is today.
At the time I was convinced that there was an army of wizards out the back who made the food from magic as it didn’t take very long to arrive and compared to how long a Sunday Roast took, it was impossible for my young brain to fathom that food can be prepared in minutes.  I digress.

I love the fact this is a traditional British Chinese, there are a few oriental ornaments dotted around and there is a selection of well-thumbed glamour magazines to read through as you wait for the culinary wizardry out back to conjure up your meal.  Having sampled their pancake rolls before, I knew with certainty that the most anticipated part of the meal would be good.

As I was poorly sick, Tori went off to get the food.  The turnaround time was pretty speedy, it took 10 minutes or so from placing the order to getting the grub.  As we live 5 minutes away by car, the bag was still piping hot when she got back.

We went for Pancake Rolls £2.20 each, Egg Fried Rice £2.50, Prawn Crackers £1.80, Sweet & Sour Pork Balls £4.50, Beef Chow Mein £4.50 and Kung Po Chicken £5.20

Nothing out of the ordinary, but definitely ordering with our eyes as we were both hungry.

So here it is.  New Year’s diet totally out of the window along with ethical eating and cholesterol awareness.  Compared to a few takeaways that we’ve had via JustEat the portion sizes are immense.  You could easily feed three people with one item.

The chicken had that slightly strange taste that you get with cheap meat, the pork was the same, but no less enjoyable.  The rice was sticky and eggy, the beef was tender and not overly chewy; everything tasted, overall, very nice.  Definitely good value.

The Pancake Rolls were very greasy, so we had to pat them down, but still edible.  The Kung Po Chicken had so many cashew nuts, something that is often skimped on with chinese takeaway dishes but not overly spicy for a ‘hot and spicy’ item.  Tori noted that the Sweet and Sour sauce had a more of a natural colour to it, and wasn’t fluorescent orange which some are.  It had a sweet taste to it and wasn’t overly acidic.

We ate. We felt stuffed. There are leftovers which we can nibble at, and I am happy to say that House Wong definitely gets an ‘Eating Exeter Recommended’ status as I would happily recommend this place given its large portion sizes and tasty (but greasy) pancake rolls.

Tyepyedong, 175 Sidwell Street, Exeter

If I had to choose one cuisine, Asian would always come top of my favourite foods.  I’ve always had a passion for spicy foods and have been lucky enough to visit Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore where my love for South Eastern cuisine flourished. Tasting some amazing authentic Asian dishes on my travels has encouraged me to cook and experiment with Chinese and Thai food myself and I’ll always have a sneaky supply of chilli, garlic and ginger in the kitchen. Therefore I’m always up for going out for a curry with my Dad or ordering a Chinese takeaway with my friends, however I’m often left feeling a little disappointed when I try Asian food in the UK. This week I visited Tyepyedong in Sidwell Street, now I wouldn’t of thought to visit this little noodle bar as from the outside I always presumed it would be another disappointing Chinese restaurant which would leave me wondering why I wasted my time and money, but my friend Lauren had such high reviews of the place that I thought I’d give it a try.

As I said, this Oriental fusion restaurant doesn’t look much from the outside, in a street littered with bookies and bathroom warehouses you wouldn’t expect a lot, but once inside you’re transported into a sleek and stylish eatery. The décor is simple, with an open kitchen where you can watch your food being freshly prepared and long Asian style wooden benches stretching across the restaurant floor. The lay out reminds me of Wagamama’s, however this place has a much more personal touch, with no corporate menu’s and over trained waiting staff.  What’s more when the restaurant is quiet you have your own personal space on the table to enjoy your meal and company, unlike other chain Asian restaurants (*cough* Wagamama’s *cough*) where you sit shoulder to should with strangers which just screams school lunch halls to me.

Entering the restaurant on a Wednesday evening, there was a welcoming atmosphere and a relaxing buzz from the fellow diners. We were shown to our table by a lovely waiter, who was attentive and friendly throughout our evening. Browsing through the extensive menu there was a wide range of Chinese and Japanese dishes to choose from. At first I was drawn to the Japanese Java curries which looked really tempting with fresh vegetables and lots of meat options, however after much deliberation I chose the Malay stir fry served with Mei Fun noodles (£9).

The service was extremely quick and my meal was in front of me within ten minutes of ordering. I was glad to see a hearty portion of thin Chinese noodles scattered with big, juicy king prawns, accompanied by large shreds of chicken and beef and plenty of vegetables. The prawns and chicken were particularly tasty, perfectly cooked and not too chewy as you often find in takeaways, and the Kamaboko-aka (Asian fishcakes) were a delicious and unique compliment to the stir fry. Although I really enjoyed the meal, the dish as a whole was slightly lacking in flavour as I couldn’t really taste the satay sauce it came in, however there was plenty of soy sauce on the table and with a couple of splashes added in, it was delicious!

I would recommend Tyepyedong as a great place for a quick lunch or evening noodle stop, I’ll definitely be ordering my next takeaway from here!  Although, I wouldn’t recommend this restaurant for a special evening out, and the only reason being that the service was so quick, we were in and out within 40 minutes, and it just seemed a little rushed. However the food is still authentically tasty and isn’t too badly priced either, so it’s certainly worth a try!

Visit Kathryn’s blog at  for more awesome reviews and recipes!

Guest Post: Uldis Freipics writes about takeaways in Exeter (via ordertakeaways.co.uk)

Take Out
Take Out (Photo credit: AMERICANVIRUS)

This post is a guest post and views represented here are  not endorsed by Eating Exeter.  

Are you looking for a takeaway in the Exeter area? No matter what your taste in cuisine, there is plenty of choice for you. Everything from Thai to Chinese. Perhaps you are just looking for a Kebab or a Pizza after a night out on the town. There is so much choice on your doorstep.

Before the online revolution, if you wanted a home delivery you would only have the one option of calling up the takeaway yourself and get them to take your order. Fortunately now in the digital age, there is now a much better way to order your take away, quickly and easily with simplicity and convenience.

Ordering over the telephone is never so easy. Not only do you need to search for a take away and get the right number, but there was also much to go wrong. Often, there would be mistakes made with your order, which could only lead to disappointment. Now you can decide not only the type of cuisine but even find the dish that you require online.

There are many reasons why you would want to order your takeaway online. Not only is your order send direct to the kitchen, but you can see customer reviews and ratings too. This can really help you choose the right takeaway.

You can even check their food hygiene rating. You can even see their opening hours and even see if they are open right now. You will find a Takeaway in Exeter will cater for virtually any cuisine, the popular and the specialist.

Indian

The Indian probably the most popular cuisine in the UK today. You will find many takeaways in the Exeter area that deliver to most areas. Here you will find many takeaways that have not only received a food hygiene rating of 5, but are highly regarded by their customers. You can come over to OrderTakeaways.co.uk and see for yourself.

One of the highest rated of Indian Takeaways is Tiffin Wala. Highly regarded by 55 customers for both its service and food it is an excellent choice. Here you can find everything from Traditional Curries to Balti dishes. Even vegetarians are catered for.

The highest rated of all in the Exeter area is The Benegal. It has been given a 5 star rating by over 320 customers. They offer everything from Kebabs to Rice dishes as well as those Indian classics that you will just love.

You will find a lot a vast choice in Indian takeaways in the Exeter area at ordertakeaways.co.uk.

Upper left: A Meat Feast Parmo from 'Four Seas...
Upper left: A Meat Feast Parmo from ‘Four Seasons’ in Stockton-on-Tees, UK. Upper right: Fish and chips. Lower left: Pizza delivery. Lower right: Döner kebab (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chinese

Perhaps the next most popular choice in takeaway has to be the Chinese takeaway. There is nothing better than getting quality great tasting authentic Chinese cuisine being delivered straight to your door.

There are 7 Chinese takeaways in the Exeter area that are open for online orders and cover most areas of the city. They will cater for virtually any taste, no matter whether you want a classic rice or noodle dish or perhaps something more exotic.

One of the highest regarded in Exeter is China Town, having been rated by a total of 483 customers. You will find a Chinese takeaway for any taste, from classic Chinese rice dishes to poultry and seafood dishes. You will also find house specialities as well as drinks and desserts.

The next Chinese takeaway that should be on your list is Beijing Oriental Express. Having been well received by 145 customers here on ordertakeaways.co.uk they are another good choice. They also offer an extensive range of dishes from Sweet and Sour and Chow Mein dishes to soups and other Chinese favorites such as Foo Yung dishes.

Kebabs/Fish and Chips

Of course the Fish and Chips is probably one of the most English of take-aways. For those that want something more traditional there is plenty of choice in Exeter. In fact, you will probably notice that Fish and Chips is on the menu of many takeaways in Exeter.

Perhaps you are looking for something convenient such as a Kebab. A popular choice that could make the perfect end to a perfect evening. Exeter has so much choice, one of the highest regarded takeaways for both Fish and Chips and of course the classic Kebab is the Chef & Grill Kebab house.

They are been proudly rated 5 stars on OrderTakeaways.co.uk. With almost everything that you could want. They also prepare other great dishes such as Burgers, Pizzas and even desserts.

Italian

Another popular choice is of course Italian food. Everyone loves a Pizza, or perhaps you would like to try something a little more traditional such as a great pasta dish. Exeter is home to one dedicated takeaway producing many great pasta dishes, pizza and even Ice Cream.

If you are more of a pizza lover, you certainly have a lot of choice with 16 Pizza takeaways to choose from. Whether you already have your favorite item on the menu at Pizza Hut or Dominos pizza, or perhaps you want to try one of the many other Pizza takeaways in the Exeter area.

One of the highest rated takeaways is the Pizza La Vita. Having been rated 5 stars by over 326 customers you know you are going to get great food and great service. There is of course a good selection of dishes. As well as Pizza you will also find Pasta dishes and even Burgers and Kebabs. This takeaway also has a level 5 food hygiene rating too.

Another great place for pizza is the Blue Eye Turkish Grill House. Although not an Italian restaurant they do offer some great pizza, with a great 5 star rating for both food and Service.

Everything else

If you have a different taste, or want to try something new. There are some specialist takeaways. Perhaps you want to try Thai, Turkish or even an African food. There is plenty of choice. There is also Halal food available in Exeter from Indian takeaway Chadni too.

For more information about Take Aways in Exeter visit http://www.ordertakeaways.co.uk/exeter_ex1_takeaways.htm

Daily Chef, 3 Angel Terrace, Tiverton – Special Dispatch

Tiverton is not known for its Chinese Restaurants.  The only descent Chinese Restaurant in Tiverton is the Golden Panda I have been told.  Then there is The Orient and China Xpress on Distribution Road, and really the choice stops there.  We were coming back from a tiring day, and the best thing you can eat on a Saturday night after any tiring day is Chinese, it is THE law.  So here goes with my impressions on The Daily Chef on Angel Hill.

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Chinese Take-Aways in the UK often have strange names, House of Wong, Fo Young, Golden Woo etc. but this one is very English.  The name doesn’t make sense unless you take in to account the fact they’re open pretty much every day apart from Monday? So that isn’t really Daily…is it?

Get past the name and you have a pretty traditional Chinese.  A vast wall mounted menu, some fish in a tank, over-priced cans of drink and a 60p surcharge for any card transactions under 12GBP and some cheap chopsticks for sale in a plastic cup on sale behind the counter.

The Daily Chef doesn’t have a website or any sort of digital internet presence.  This is highly unusual for any business in the UK at the moment, but they seem to get by with word-of-mouth and a bit of advertising.  This is not a pretentious establishment, and for that it is endearing, it is what it is.

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The prices are average ‘Chinese’ prices, anything between 3GBP and 6GBP, there is a set menu with four person menu hitting 38GBP and they do Chinese and English meals.

The greasy state of Chinese food in England is pretty legendary.  And the food here doesn’t really go past that expectation.  I went for two Pancake Rolls, Chicken in Water Chestnuts and some Egg Fried Rice.

The speed of the food was quite amazing (5 minutes!).  I have been to some Chinese’s where you have to wait for up to 30 minutes for a ‘very busy chef’ to cook  your food for you and then have it brought out in some greasy congealed half cold mess.  This wasn’t.  It was quick, it was hot and the service was very polite.  No resentful crone sitting behind the counter with a face like a slapped trout, the young lady seemed to have a hold on what was happening, who was having what etc.  It did give me confidence that this was going to be a good meal.

One thing about The Daily Chef which will make you overlook everything else, is the portion size.  For what we paid, we felt satisfied.  The prawn crackers cracked, the Pancake Rolls were a little small but still very nice and the Chicken and Water Chestnuts hit the mark three times over.  This is definitely a place we will revisit 🙂

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Tel:
01884252135

No website or Twitter or anything Social or Digital…

Buffet City, George St, Exeter (4/5)


IMG_0771Buffets, who loves them? Well a lot of people, which is why places like Buffet City and All Day 6 do so well in Exeter.  There are really only two choices and they couldn’t be more different if you tried.

Buffet City has never appealed to me, I have always seen it as being the more expensive cousin of All Day 6 (in Palace Gate, down the hill from South Street).  I don’t really want to spend much on Buffet food, no matter how nice it is, the cheaper option has always won me over.  But then Chinese food in Britain is by nature, greasy and mostly the same sort of thing where ever you go.  Samosas, Spring Rolls, Prawn Toasts, every sort of Chicken, deep friend stuff, sauces, rice, noodles etc.  And yes, Buffet City has the usual sort of things; but take the usual and add to it.

Add a Sushi Bar, a Chef’s Specials Bar, Tenkaippin Bar, Desserts with ice cream machine, Curry Bar and well, the usuals.  An absolutely amazing selection.

Its a funny place, especially when you know what it used to be.  St Georges Market used to occupy the large space that Buffet City does now.  I have distant memories of walking around with my grandmother, looking at the toy stalls and then later on walking around just before it closed looking at the last few sad looking stalls.  Then it became Foodeaze, a strange conglomeration of deli and restaurant that was overpriced, badly located and without direction, and a few years ago it ended up becoming Buffet City.

The space that it occupies is large and open, its not overly warm as there is a large ceiling space, and it is dark as despite the large ostentatious chandeliers they don’t emit quite enough light to let you  see what you’re actually eating.  But it is pleasant to look at generally, there are fish tanks and it does have a modern feel to it.
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The service is good, but the rather stern looking manager’s strutting around eyeballing the diners was quite off-putting.  The waiter who took us to our table asked if we had been before, he then explained how it worked and away we went. Simple.

Buffet City has its house-rules like any buffet restaurant.  The one thing, and certainly its biggest negative is the pricing structure.  Lunchtimes are cheaper, but a different menu.  Evenings are more expensive, but this varies on the day you go.  Saturday night prices are £11.95 per person (most expensive evening).  If it wasn’t for the fact that we came with a BOGOF voucher, I would not have been happy paying that much for buffet food.

I have given it 4/5 because as an experience it was a good one.  The decor was nice, the service was friendly and the food was tasty, but it looses my favour for the price of what they are serving.  Buffet food is essentially food that has been lying around and is not fresh, it has been fingered by strangers and is essentially canteen food, even though the taste is far beyond anything that you would get in a canteen.

Great as a treat if you love Buffet style food.  Correct at time of publication (March 2013)

Opening Times:

Monday: 11:45am – 4:30pm (£5.95 per person)

Tuesday – Saturday:  11:45am – 4:30pm (£6.50 per person)

Monday – Thursday: 5:00pm – 11:00pm (£10.95 per person)

Friday – Saturday: 5:00pm – 11:00pm (£11.95 per person)

Sunday: All Day (£8.95 per person)

Bank Holidays additional £1 per person.