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Giggling Squid, Weybridge

If you're looking for food that's fast, fresh and fragrant - it has to be the Giggling Squid for its fabulous Thai tapas. We tested their brand new restaurant in Weybridge.

THE LOWDOWN

Set up by Pranee and Andy Laurillard from a tiny fisherman’s cottage in Brighton back in 2002, Giggling Squid began with a simple idea: to cook simple, rustic, fresh Thai food with an emphasis is on sharing.

They were on to something. That Brighton cottage is now a restaurant and there are a further 37 sites across the country including a brand new restaurant in Weybridge, Esher (see our review here), Reigate, Farnham, Kingston and Guildford. They’re also in Horsham, Wimbledon and Windsor. While other chain restaurants are shutting up shop, Giggling Squid is spreading its tentacles far and wide, as it brings inventive Thai tapas to the nation.

THE VIBE

The decor is light and bright with a fresh feel. Floral murals feature on the walls, and along with artful collections of faux flowers, it feels romantic, whimsical and original. The light green leather banquettes and pops of purple bring it in line with the styling at the other branches. It’s a large restaurant (110 covers), but clever zoning with floral partitions and half-height walls means it’s still feels intimate and welcoming.

I visited on a Thursday night and it was packed to the rafters – creating a buzzy and fun atmosphere. We were warmly welcomed by the staff when we arrived, who were attentive and knowledgeable, gave great recommendations, and kept the drinks flowing.

SCOFF & QUAFF

The Thai tapas menu is reserved for lunch, and for dinner it’s a more traditional menu of starters and mains but you’ll be hard pressed to choose just one dish each.

So we did the sharing thing, opting for the salt and pepper squid and the lemon and lime tuna petals. The squid is a Giggling Squid classic, and it’s to die for – hot and fluffy, with the perfect amount of crunch on the crispy coating. The tuna petals were a good pairing – fine slices of raw tuna with lemongrass, lime and shallots in a fresh and light dressing. It was perfection.

Moving on to mains, I chose the Royal fishing boat curry, while Mr M went for the banana leaf grilled sea bass. The fishing boat curry was truly outstanding – and I’d definitely order it again. I had some gorgeously glutinous sticky rice to go with it.

The grilled sea bass looks amazing on the plate, and Mr M said it was deliciously sweet, moist and tender. It’s quite a virtuous choice, as it also feels quite healthy.

I don’t often go for pud in a Thai restaurant, but the Giggling Squid offering is pretty tempting – choices include caramelised mango cake, coconut pudding with berry compote and (my choice) Prosecco and muddled berry cheesecake. Mr M went for the lychee yoghurt ice-cream. Both were great choices and finished our meal of very nicely.

KID-FRIENDLY?

There’s a warm and welcoming feel to this restaurant, and if your kids like Thai food, then I’d certainly take them along.

THE MUDDY VERDICT

Good for: Anyone who loves Thai food (obvs!), but its extensive dining areas make it great spot for large groups, plus date nights, lunch with the girls (the cocktails are amazing).There are plenty of great veggie, vegan and gluten-free options, too.

Not for: Fussy eaters should stay away. The food here is authentic Thai food, so you won’t find burgers and chips on the menu. Also if you crave formality and crisp white table cloths, this is not going to be your bag.

The damage: Most starters are £6-8, with the sharing platters £15.75-£17.25. Mains are from £10-£11.50 for a stir fry up to £16.50 (lamb shank Massaman, crying beef).

Find more ideas here

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