At the beginning of this year, my social media for my blog was going nowhere and I didn’t really have the time or knowledge to spend time improving it. But when my internship finished in January, I found myself with a lot of free time before embarking on a freelance career. As my instagram started to grow, I felt more confident in my blog and the content I was posting. Fast forward a few months, I can’t believe how much has changed in a small space of time! We now have our puppy, Hendricks, we have just got engaged and I have had some media invites. One of those invites was the one I went to Tuesday night, to sample the new menu at the ‘Giggling Squid’ in Billericay.
I must admit, I’d never heard of the ‘Giggling Squid’ before. I did a quick Insta search (obvs) and thought it’s the exact place I would choose to go for dinner if there was one nearer to us! It’s a chain of Thai restaurants and there are currently 35 in England. Pranee (the owner and founder) and her husband opened their first restaurant in 2002 and it was based in Brighton. They started off with a simple tapas style menu and it grew from there – the Giggling Squid is still in Brighton, proving to be hugely popular!
When I arrived, I was surprised at how busy the restaurant was for a Tuesday evening, which just goes to show how good the reputation and the food is. It was an intimate affair as there were 5 of us bloggers and then area manager, Stuart, and the marketing manager, Melissa. Both Stuart and Melissa greeted us warmly and made sure to talk to all of us and made sure we had everything we needed/ wanted. Stuart said he had ordered a mixture of starters for us all to share and sample, and then we were allowed to pick our own main course and side. Now, for anyone who knows me, this was a hard thing to do! I’m very indecisive in restaurants and I’m usually torn between at least 3 options. I get proper fear about picking the wrong thing. What if someone has something that’s better than mine? What if I waste the opportunity to have a banging meal? It’s ok if Tom is with me as I know he will order whatever I’m choosing between and then I can eat whichever one I like best! In the end, I ordered the lamb shank Massaman curry with a side of prawn Pad Thai (when in Rome and all that).
To drink, I had to try the Thai G&T! It did not disappoint either. If there’s gin on the menu, I will order it. My only regret is that I was driving so I couldn’t have a bucket full of them. The cocktail was made up of kaffir lime leaf and ginger infused gin, fever tree tonic water and some fresh lemongrass. It was so refreshing and really complemented the food. Then came the food.
Oh boy, where to begin? Initially I believe there were supposed to be 9 of us, so Stuart had ordered enough starters for that many people. As 2 people didn’t turn up, it meant more for us and we devoured it! When it arrived, I think we all thought, how on earth are we going to get through all this? But, we managed it and enjoyed every single dish. We got to sample:
- Prawn Crackers
- Sharing platter for 2
- Crunchy duck and lychee bites
- Hawker-Style Moo ping (marinated pork skewers)
- Chicken satay skewers
- Lemon and line tuna ‘petals’
- The famous salt and pepper squid
- Betel leaf and ginger lime salmon morsels
- Samui zingy prawns
- Big flavour mushroom lard
- Mah Kwan pepper pork belly
- Som tam papaya salad
Just listing it all makes me feel amazed that we finished it all, but it was that good, there was no chance we were leaving anything! My personal standouts were the hawker-style moo ping, the pork belly and the lemon and lime tuna petals. The squid was sensational, but after working in a seafood restaurant, I love eating things I wouldn’t normally come across. The pork was exquisite. I’m not going to lie, I would NEVER order pork in a restaurant. It’s always dry and chewy. Both of the pork dishes were like nothing I’ve ever had before. They were so tender and flavoursome. The layers of the spices and citrus kept coming and they left a great taste on the palate. The tuna was a brilliant surprise. It had been marinated just enough so it took on all the flavours, but still had a firm texture. Sometimes, too much citrus will make the fish go a bit mushy. Luckily for me, no one else really enjoyed the tuna so I got to eat most of it on my own!
Next came the main event. Mine was insanely good. I can still taste it and I’m so excited to eat it again. The pad Thai was also really tasty, probably not the right side to have with a curry, but to be honest, I knew it would be great, so thought there was no better time to try it. The lamb shank was so tender and the curry was rich, creamy, spicy, aromatic, and an all round delicious meal. I couldn’t finish it all sadly, but I would definitely get it again.
We were all super full after our mains but we got a couple of desserts to share, we decided to try the prosecco and berry cheesecake and the trio of desserts. The cheesecake was blooming lovely! If I wasn’t so full, I would have definitely eaten it all as it was actually really light and had a good, thick biscuit base.
Overall, I genuinely couldn’t recommend the Giggling Squid anymore. It was bloody brilliant and a must dining destination for all foodies. They even have a great vegan menu! I’m really excited to go back, and we’re thinking of going this weekend as it’s Tom’s birthday. I think it will change anyone’s mind on Thai food and the guys at Giggling Squid really prove how it should be done and have set the bar unbelievably high!
Thanks for inviting me, it really was an absolute pleasure to attend.