I’m not the biggest fan of chain restaurants and yet I don’t actively disregard them. I don’t want this blog to become a website full of top end restaurants that no one can afford to go to – balance and variety are the keys. A couple of friends have mentioned the Giggling Squid to me in passing and with Mr A and I being big lovers of Thai food we thought we would give it a go. My step daughter, E, also came with us – she is a vegan and it was nice to go somewhere where she had a complete menu to choose from rather than a couple of mediocre vegetable curries. One of the beauties of Thai cuisine is that it is great for vegetarians and vegans.
We went for an early Sunday evening booking so although there were a fair few tables of diners it was nice and quiet – well until a table near us decided it was appropriate to Face Time at the dinner table and have a rather loud conversation with their mum and dad whilst there kids raised their voices to get some attention. Oh for some etiquette.
Best way to start a meal is with a cocktail and there was a good selection on offer although, alas, no martinis. I went for the Giggling Squid Cosmo. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this – vodka, Cointreau and cranberry balanced out with a spicy orange ginger ale and some fresh lime. It was rather good, so good I had three of throughout the duration of the meal! We also had some spicy prawn crackers alongside, which were great to snack on as we studied the menus.
There’s a lot of choice on said menu. A lot. And it all looks really good. After much deliberation for my starter I went classic and tried the squid – it was superb a delightful crisp, puffy batter around lovely tender pieces of fish should have asked for some chili oil though as I think that would have given the dish a bit more punch!. Mr A went for the Thai fish cakes which were nice but nothing really to write home about – I’m not sure how exciting you can really get with fish cakes.
Stand out starter was the Crispy Pak Maew which E ordered. It was incredible – really unusual leafy vegetable which tasted like a cross between cabbage and pak choi. It was in a light tempura batter and served with a really rich, red curry, peanut sauce. The sauce complimented the lightness of the leaves perfectly – will be ordering this in a flash next time!
For mains I chose the Koong Chu Chi which was huge juicy prawns, seared and butterflied and cooked in a thick, spicy, rich red curry sauce. The flavours in this dish were well balanced and I loved the amount of spice and heat. I had it with coconut rice and was very smug that I had picked well!
Elsewhere Mr A had gone for a vegetable Pad Thai and a prawn Pad Khing – the noodles were fantastic although I still can’t place what all the vegetables in it were – love a dinner that is also an education! The Pad Khing was stir fry and had strong hints of ginger and spring onion but I do think it needed a bit of spice to lift it somewhat.
E went for the Cashew Nut stir fry with noodles and beansprouts. She enjoyed it although I think both she and Mr A were a bit jealous of my curry and both agreed they would choose one of those next time. I know there is so much more to Thai food then just curries but I think at somewhere like the Giggling Squid the curries are what they do best so just embrace it!
Dessert was time for something different once again as I had a “Giggling Drop” – Mekhong spirit (apparently a cross between rum and whisky) with a sweetened, spiced cream. It was a perfect, after dinner drink which was almost Christmassy in its taste – maybe because of its resemblance to Baileys…
Dinner came to approximately £150.00, which is not cheap when there are just three of you. I would say it does err on being a bit too expensive especially as it is a chain. I should mention that the bill did include eight alcoholic drinks plus an after dinner drink so it was probably the cost of drinks that made this quite high for us… they do what looks like a good set meal for lunch so that may be a more affordable time.
Good Thai food, lovely decor and a really relaxed dining experience. I really enjoyed my visit and the fact that it had such good options for vegan food means we have already discussed visiting their Chislehurst branch, due to open soon!
The Giggling Squid, 3c Dorset Street, Sevenoaks