Step inside the doors of a striking red brick building in Eastgate Square, Chichester and you’re immediately transported to a cool and relaxing summer pavilion. Soft green tones, Victorian style nature prints, and many more enchanting features bring the outdoors in. As with all branches of this exciting chain of Thai restaurants, the newly-opened Giggling Squid in Chichester, West Sussex has been lovingly designed by co-owner Pranee Laurillard. I had heard good things about the brand but was yet to try it, so when I was invited to review their newest branch I didn’t need to be asked twice.
There are several different seating areas, each delightful but with a slightly different ambience — the somewhat quirky birdcage is the perfect setting for a memorable romantic meal for two. Our table was by an open window adjacent to a busy road, yet the traffic was completely unobtrusive, quite surprisingly so, and we were glad of the gentle breeze on what was one of the hottest days of the year.
Being unfamiliar with their menu we were happy to let the waitress guide our choice and we were thoroughly delighted with the outcome. I had the Starving Squid tapas set (£10.95) consisting of Chicken Red Curry, Thai Pork Dumplings with Jasmine Rice but instead of Spring Rolls, I had Chicken Satay. My friend Sara opted for the Two Giggling Squids tapas set (£11.95) namely Chicken Massaman Curry, Salt and Pepper Squid, Lime and Chilli Beef and Jasmine Rice. They also added a serving of Sleeping Honey Duck, just so we could try it. As each dish is freshly prepared from scratch, each can be adapted to your preferred level of spiciness.
Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free menus are available on request and all over a good range of dishes, particularly on their evening menus. All their menus are available to download on their website. As many Thai dishes contain nuts they can’t guarantee that any dishes are completely nut free.
Everything was delicious I did feel somewhat overfull by the end of the meal. Perhaps the duck was a plate too far, or possibly the tasty prawn crackers and sweet chilli dip (£2.95) we started with, but it was all so good I don’t know which I would have left out. The stars of the show were the Salt and Pepper Squid, which we both adored — tender pieces of squid simply prepared in a light flour coating, deep fried until they puffed up. My favourite dish of all though was the spicy Lime and Chilli Beef, while Sara, who prefers a milder dish, particularly loved the Chicken Satay as well as the Massaman Curry.
I was disappointed not to have room for a dessert — the Jasmine and Toasted Rice Ice Cream sounds intriguing. I did manage to squeeze in a little Pineapple, Coconut and Mekhong Sorbet (£4.95) which was the perfect end to our meal. It’s just a shame it had to end at all.
While I wouldn’t pop into Giggling Squid in my lunch break as our meal took a little while to arrive (because every dish is cooked from scratch), it was certainly worth the wait and far too good to be rushed. All the staff were friendly, helpful and clearly passionate about the brand. With three more branches of these fabulous Thai restaurants in Sussex, namely Horsham, Hove and Brighton (plus Guildford, Farnham and Tunbridge Wells not too far from Sussex) I’d highly recommend you check out your local Giggling Squid. I’m sure they are the best Thai restaurants you’ll find in the south of England. There are 25 branches in all with more soon to follow. Many also offer a takeaway service.
I hope to return soon as I’m sure both my husband and my sister would enjoy Giggling Squid as much as I did.
And, by the way, if you’re wondering why the name Giggling Squid, it’s the nickname of one of Pranee and Andy Laurillard’s three children, a memorable name that the couple rightly thought would intrigue people.
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Disclaimer: Our meal at Giggling Squid was complimentary for review purposes. As always, we will only share our honest opinions with you, otherwise, there’s little point.