Sunday 22 January 2023

New Thai restaurant Giggling Squid opens in Winchester

(Press visit for the purpose of review - see disclaimer)

Towards the end of 2022, Winchester welcomed Thai restaurant Giggling Squid to The Square and it has been hugely popular! Husband and wife co-founders Pranee and Andy started Giggling Squid out of a determination to bring the buzz of Thai mealtimes to the UK - energetic, informal, adventurous and welcoming. 

It all started in a tiny Fisherman's cottage (now their Brighton restaurant) where the first menu was dreamt up.

Since then, the brand has expanded rapidly across the country and has quickly built up a cult following with menu favourites such as Salt & Pepper Squid and Lamb Massaman Curry being served up in forty-six locations. 

We visited twice before Christmas and while the first time wasn't quite as expected the second visit more than made up for it. I already know what I'd order on our next visit. 

Walking into the Winchester site of Giggling Squid, you're greeted by big airy windows, lots of earthy green and beautiful floral arrangements. Each site is slightly different but with the core being a mix of old and new. 

"It started with the cathedral in Norwich. I walked around the cathedral and I kind of liked the way they mixed the old and the new very well. That made me think to mix the historic buildings we buy with some fresh surprising ideas. Something that people wouldn’t expect, so we put a gazebo with flowers inside the historic Norwich restaurant and the ideas developed from there. I wanted to find something that would very subtly represent Thai without being cliche or too obvious. I think we’ve achieved that."

The food is the main show and while there is a cocktail menu and a selection of other alcoholic drinks available we weren't overly impressed with the cocktails and sent three back. We stuck with Elderflower Cordial and soft drinks which were light and refreshing. 

The menu is a mix of starters and sharing platters with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. We started with a moreish basket of Prawn Crackers - spicy and hard to stop eating especially alongside the sweet chilli dipping sauce. The Chang Mai serving platter includes Hawker-Style Moo Ping, Salt & Pepper Squid, Vegan Spring Rolls and Giggling Wings. 

The Hawker Style Moo Ping is DELICIOUS - cumin and coriander marinated pork skewers with a juicy, chargrilled texture of barbequed street food. We also made an extra order of Chicken Satay because it sounded yummy - chicken skewers steeped in coconut milk, lemongrass and fresh turmeric and grilled until golden. Served with A-jard pickled vegetables and peanut sauce, YUM.

There is a huge selection of dishes on the menu including curries, noodles, stir fry plus fish and meat sections, we ordered:

Beef Massaman Curry
A curry with mythical origins...and legendary flavour! Simmered in coconut milk and perfumed with cardamom, cinnamon and star anise with crunchy cashew nuts.

Giggling Pad Thai
Flavoursome rice noodles with chicken, tofu, beansprouts, sliced red onions, Thai chives and crunchy peanuts.

Marinated Steak & Beef Tips
A meat feast of thinly sliced sirloin marinated in yellow curry paste, served pink with grilled edges, richly coated with a red and green curry sauce. Served with a portion of Jaew Beef Tips and a salad of spring onions, red peppers and turmeric-fried Thai garlic.

Each dish was delicious and full of flavour, there really is a great selection and it was so enjoyable but for me, the Marinated Steak & Beef Tips (my mum's order) really stole the foodie show. The yellow curry paste added such a unique flavour to the dish and the beef tips were like nothing we'd tried before. 

It'll be the first thing I order on our next visit to Giggling Squid. 

Finally, we had to try the dessert for research purposes! You can choose from a selection of ice cream and sorbet, Caramelised Mango Cake and Melting Heart Chocolate Dessert OR you can order the Sweet Heavens Above Trio that includes Salted Caramel Soufflé, Mini Melting Heart Chocolate Dessert and Pineapple & Coconut Finger.

We had a really great time during our second experience, I also took the one-year-old with us and the kid's options were great and she loved the curry and noodles so much, wouldn't stop eating! 

The restaurant is hugely popular right now so I would recommend booking. You can contact the restaurant at 01962 571477 to make your reservation or book online Giggling Squid - Thai Restaurants with Personality

Giggling Squid 12-13 The Square, Winchester, SO23 9ES.

Blogger Template by pipdig