Giggling Squid is a growing family of Thai restaurants, with plans announced this August to open ten new sites over the next twelve months across the UK. In the local area there is a Giggling Squid in both Brighton and Hove, which both have a good reputation and a strong customer base.
Tim and I were keen to taste the food here and test the authenticity of the dishes.
Visited: September 2016
The option of lots of small Thai plates with the lunch tapas offering
The salt and pepper squid was a favourite for us both
The presentation of the dishes
The conscientiousness given to allergies
We would have like a stronger honey flavour to the Sleeping Honey Duck dish
We visited Giggling Squid for a Saturday lunch drawn by the popular Thai tapas selection. We started by ordering some prawn crackers and advising the staff of Tim’s peanut allergy. The crackers were reassuringly spicy, and the tastebuds were further warmed by the accompanying sweet chilli dip. What was more reassuring, however, was the laminated spreadsheet of allergens we were promptly presented with so that we could quickly assess which dishes Tim could enjoy. We’ve not before come across such efficiency with ingredients and with so many friends with allergies it’s pleasing to know that Giggling Squid is such an allergy-friendly environment.
The decor was pleasant, bare-brick walls, fresh flowers and not overly harsh lighting. We opted for a variety of the tapas dishes to get a good view of a range of dishes from curries to salads. The waiter recommended a Spanish white wine, which suited the spice of our dishes and the strength of flavours well.
My first tapas choice was seared scallops with spicy lime (because I adore scallops). Two scallops were beautifully presented in a shell on a bed of tomato and onion and with a sharp tang and gentle heat from the chilli. Even Tim enjoyed these and he’s not a huge scallop fan.
Next we tried the salt and pepper squid (a Giggling Squid favourite) and we were both pleasantly surprised to find these were coated in Panko breadcrumbs, which offered a delightful textural contrast to the soft perfectly cooked squid. Not a hint of rubberiness to the squid!
Our next dish – the Sleeping Honey Duck – was the most disappointing of our tapas dishes, not because there was anything unpleasant about it, it just wasn’t what we were expecting. The overwhelming flavour of this dish was of sweet chilli, which we both love, but we expected a honey flavour to be dominant. We both also prefer our duck to be served slightly more pink.
When we ordered the lamb Massaman, the kitchen double checked that we would be OK with the cashew nuts in this dish, it was nice to yet again be reminded that they were conscious of the peanut allergy. The dish was spot on, just the right heat and richness. The comforting dish was served, perhaps untraditionally, with soft carrots as well as potatoes within the sauce. We both enjoyed this and would recommend that this is ordered alongside a rice dish to soak up some of the delicious sauce.
The Thai Beef salad gave a welcome tangy freshness. the beef was soft and nicely spiced and had been laced with a generous splash of fish sauce.
All of the tapas dishes were generous portions and just the right size for us to both have a good taste of the dish and to leave feeling full.
That’s not to say we didn’t sample the dessert menu. We rounded up the meal by sharing a scoop of ice cream (black sesame), a scoop of sorbet (Basil and lemongrass, an interesting combination exclusive to Giggling Squid by the clever people at Boho Gelato) and Tim has an iced coffee. The ice cream was nutty and sweet, and the sorbet was an unusual yet refreshing end to the feast.
To sum up, the Thai tapas dishes offer a great way to sample lots of Thai dishes and enjoy a Thai feast at a very reasonable price. With regard to allergens, it’s nice to have confidence that this restaurant places a high priority on customer safety.
Overall verdict: (8/10)
Cost of food: Tapas dishes are priced between £2.65 and £4.75.
129 Church Rd,
We were lucky enough to be invited to Giggling Squid on a complimentary basis. The views and opinions in this article are all our own.
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