Two-story warehouse, Japanese beers and a menu made for drinking.
Ladprao is the latest hood to welcome a new after-work izakaya. Jirafu, which refers to the Japanese pronunciation of giraffe, is set in a two-story warehouse decked out with lots of raw concrete.
Boasting more than 30 Japanese beers (priced from B120-B600), the restaurant’s food menu is made for drinking; try the Jirafu Yaki Mori (B450), which comprises grilled chicken, shiitake mushroom and sherry tomatoes.
There’s also plenty of sashimi, sushi rolls and donburi with highlights like the wagyu hotate roll with stuffed Hokkaido scallop and miso saikyo spicy sauce (B560) and the spider crab salad (B260), deep-fried softshell crab and ebiko.
The recent opening of cool new shops, cafes, bars and record stores are proof that Ladprao is becoming one of the hottest hoods in town. For the past year, the area’s even had its own izakaya, Jirafu, which has been such a success that it has since expanded to two more spots in Pinklao and Ramintra.
The original branch on Ladprao Soi 5 still attracts regular customers to its spacious two-story warehouse decked out with raw concrete, industrial black steel beams and fake maple trees in the vivid shades of a Japanese fall. The dining yard with its giant projector wall make the place feel more like a suburban Thai pub than a Japanese tavern, and the menu runs the full course of Nippon dishes, from udon and soba to to tempura, maki, sushi, sashimi and izakaya-style grilled meat staples.
The sushi station does some good work with its sushi and maki—the Engawa Saikyo Delight (B135) features well-torched salmon and a smothering of delicious miso-saiko sauce, while the salmon unagi cheese roll (B380) also benefits from a tangy miso sauce.
Shame the same level of flavor couldn’t rub off on other dishes like the Jirafu yaki mori (B450). None of the selection of grilled vegetables and meats on sticks taste like they’ve been marinated for long enough to absorb enough flavor. The wagyu teppan steak (B850) isn’t too exciting, either. Though the meat is tasty, it comes swimming in an oily pan.
Since this neighborhood lacks any really decent Japanese restaurants, we don’t blame the people who visit on the regular—it does the job well enough for when you’re too lazy to go some place else. But factor patchy, unorganized service into the fact that the food is rarely anything spectacular, and it’s hard to see why you’d visit Jirafu for any reason other than it being close to where you live. Corkage charge B100
This review took place in June 2016 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.