If you love Thai food, you had best book a table at Giggling Squid in Wimbledon - it looks (and tastes) great.
This winter the family-run Thai restaurant chain opened its 22nd branch in the High Street, offering diners an authentic lunch time Thai tapas menu and a separate dinner spread, both featuring a varied selection of classic seafood, meat, curry, noodle and stir fry options.
Owned by Thai-born Pranee Laurillard and her husband Andrew, Giggling Squid - the nickname of one of their three children - was founded in the basement of a tiny fisherman’s cottage, now the Brighton restaurant, where dreams of replicating a little taste of home became a reality.
The couple opened their first site in Hove in 2009 and have gone on to establish a strong reputation for traditional Thai cooking with an emphasis on signature curries and coastal specialities.
Inside the restaurant:
A VIP launch party was held at the Wimbledon eatery to celebrate the opening.
Guests were transported in tuk tuks from the train station to the beautifully hand decorated restaurant furnished with rustic wooden tables, hanging orchids and wisteria and striking mirrors.
With an ethos for sharing freshly cooked food, it's perfect for large parties and families, but it is also a romantic spot for couples, especially in the intimate floral alcoves, where my partner and I sat.
After chatting to the friendly, passionate staff and exploring every nook and cranny of the pretty two-story building, we sampled a range of the tantalising dinner dishes.
A number of new dishes have been added to the Giggling Squid menu and we couldn't wait to try them as well as some of the old favourites.
We started with seared scallops (£8) and chicken satay (£7.50) - both classics.
Four pearly white scallops, seared until golden brown, were presented in two shimmering shells.
Cooked exquisitely and dressed with ground fresh chilli, nam pla and lime juice, they offered a clean, simple and elegant start to our feast.
The three satay sticks were robust, meaty and flavoursome and the accompanying peanut sauce was extremely moreish.
New on the menu was Thai style cod (£15.95) so I went for that, while my partner went for one of his beloved dishes - Paneang curry with chicken (£11.95).
The curry instantly brought back warm memories of our trip to Thailand last year and he was impressed at how similar it was - rich, spicy and comforting.
My plump steamed fillet of cod was of a generous size and literally flaked off my fork.
Fresh, fragrant and light, it was dressed with lime, ginger, coriander, garlic and chilli on exotic mushrooms.
However, I made a rookie error as I didn't spot the two spice stars next to it on the menu!
I'm a bit feeble when it comes to spicy food, however it was still delicious and the side of brown rice (£3.95) and stir fry pak choi and tenderstems (£4.95) - both new items - helped me cope with the heat.
We shared the sides as there was plenty of food to go round and we wanted to try a bit of each others.
Even though we were full, our lovely waitress persuaded us to try the new ice creams and sorbets on the dessert menu and we were glad we did for they were divine.
At £4.95 for two scoops, we tried pineapple, coconut and mekhong sorbet, lychee yoghurt ice cream and black sesame ice cream.
All refreshing and delicate, the tropical sorbet tasted just like a Pina Colada. Yum!
Giggling Squid in Wimbledon is quaint, relaxing and gorgeous and the food is just as appealing to the eye.
Crafted with passion and skill, expect a true and luscious taste of Thailand.
How to book a table at Giggling Squid in Wimbledon:
Address: Giggling Squid, High Street, Wimbledon, SW19 5BY
Opening times: Mon-Thu 12pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-10.30pm and Sun 12pm-9.30pm
Telephone: 020 8946 4196
Facilities: Private dining, outdoor seating, child-friendly
Dress code: Casual
Parking: Street parking. Walking distance to Wimbledon train station
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