Conceived back in 2002, in the basement of a tiny fisherman’s cottage, which later became their Brighton restaurant, Giggling Squid has gone from strength to strength, gradually opening restaurants all over the south of England and beyond. Yet I would still call it a Brighton institution, and it has always been my go-to restaurant for Thai cuisine that not only lives up to the dishes I sampled on the backpacking adventures of my youth, but also captures the spirit of mealtimes in Thailand, which are all about lots of dishes that everyone shares. Giggling Squid’s menu has always reflected this tradition; hence their well-known Thai tapas sets. Not only that, I have always had a lovely time visiting Giggling Squid as their warm friendly and welcoming hospitality knows no bounds. With restaurants unfortunately still being closed for a while yet I decided I still needed to get my fix. So I got on the phone and placed an order to see if the takeaway food still lives up to Giggling Squids fine longstanding reputation. Of course, it did!
Ordering is easy either over the phone or through click and collect on the Giggling Squid website (see below). If you prefer to have your food come to you then Deliveroo is also an option but as I was suffering from lockdown cabin-fever I opted to collect my lunch from my local Hove restaurant. There were plenty of spaces to park right outside on Church Road, and despite it being heart-breaking to see this normally lively restaurant devoid of customers. It was comforting to find all the recommended precautions are being adhered to. A pristinely clean makeshift serving area has been constructed at the entrance with a waiting area big enough to be able to keep your distance from the staff and other customers. My wife and I ordered a feast to share including a couple of starters, two tapas boxes, a Prawn Pad-Thai and, on recommendation, some Soft Shell Pranee Prawns. Although the restaurant is essentially closed the staff are as convivial as ever and I enjoy a chat with them during my short wait. As I receive my bag and smell the wonderful aromas emanating from it, I cannot wait to get home to get stuck in.
We begin our takeaway with our starters of Mah Kwan Pepper Pork Belly, which was deliciously sweet and sticky and the slow-cooked pork really absorbed the flavour of the rare Northern Thailand pepper, and big flavour mushroom larb, delicious exotic mushrooms tossed in mint, chilli flakes, ground rice and shallots. which as the name suggests, really pack a punch. Already blown away by the starters we cannot wait to get stuck into the rest.
Our first tapas box “One Giggling Squid” consists of Sleeping Honey Duck, Wholesome Cashew Stir Fry, Thai Spring Rolls, Jasmine Rice. We picked this one mainly for the duck, a favourite of ours that we order every we time we dine at Giggling Squid, the sticky and sweet combination is a proven winner and this was no exception. The Cashew Stir fry was a tasty and comforting dish. The salty sauce was thick and rich like a Thai-style gravy that really complimented the nutty toasted cashews and tasted great with the jasmine rice. The delicate crunchy Thai Spring rolls are always a winner, they taste great dunked in the accompanying sweet-chilli sauce.
Onto our second box “Two Giggling Squids,” Chicken Massaman Curry, Salt & Pepper Squid, Delicious Thai Chicken wings and jasmine rice. The Salt and Pepper squid is another dish that tends to make it onto our plates when we dine in, and it tasted just as good as a takeaway. Fresh squid encased in crunchy, salt-and-pepper tempura batter with a scattering of chilli-flakes for an extra kick. These chunky morsels are insanely delicious and incredibly moreish to boot. The chicken wings are a perfect small plate treat, a dish I would probably normally see on a menu and order as a safe bet, but actually they were far superior than any I have tried, meat that falls off the bone, perfectly seasoned with lots of garlic and fresh coriander. The chicken Massaman curry is a truly luxurious dish with spices that blend harmoniously simmered in coconut milk. Mild and creamy, with pieces of lean chicken, as well as potatoes, carrots and onions, and a sprinkle of cashew nuts. Sublime.
After a bit of a breather we greedily tucked into our extra dishes, Pad Thai and Pranee Prawns. When they describe the prawns in this dish as ‘giant’, it’s not a case of menu exaggeration. They really were huge, plump, and tasty. Even in a takeaway box it was probably the prettiest Pad Thai I’ve ever had. No style over substance here though – it tasted delicious too. The noodles were cooked perfectly so they still had a bit of bite, the bean sprouts, onion, and carrots still crunchy, and it was beautifully seasoned too. As I mentioned before the Pranee Prawns were a recommendation from the restaurant. I will wholeheartedly pass on that recommendation to whoever reads this as they really were incredible. As a regular visitor to Giggling Squid I have not come across them before and I assume they are a relatively new addition, named after restaurant owner Pranee Laurillard. Giant soft-shell prawns coated in Thai herbs and garlic with a little chilli kick. Served with fresh jicama and mint salad with sweet vinegary Ajard sauce. I cannot begin to describe how tasty this dish is. The wonderful powerful bold flavours that the prawns are coated in are somehow enhanced by the fresh zingy salad. This delightful dish really left a mark on me. Incredible flavours and textures that pull your tastebuds in all sorts of wonderful directions. A must try.
Our Giggling Squid takeaway lunch was truly incredible, and although I loved dining at Giggling Squid and getting the whole restaurant experience that they do so wonderfully well, their takeaway is also a real treat. All the dishes travelled exceptionally well and taste just as good at home. As a bonus there is a QR code on the packaging you can scan to write a review and win a £100.00 voucher to spend at any of their restaurants. If you are after treating yourselves to a takeaway Giggling Squid will surpass all expectations. With Mother’s Day coming up I cannot think of a better lockdown treat for the most important woman in your life. Give them a call for collection or get on Deliveroo to have their delicious home-cooked authentic Thai cuisine delivered straight to your door.