Giggling Squid opened their first restaurant in a converted fisherman’s cottage in Brighton. Twenty years later, founders Pranee and Andrew Laurillard now oversee 45 venues across the UK. A Manchester branch is rumoured to be on the way.
Boasting ‘Thai Food with personality’, Giggling Squid has established a reputation for offering top quality Thai cuisine in a pretty, colonial setting. Restaurants are festooned with blossoms, painted in pastel shades and decorated with wallpaper patterned with flowers and birds.
Their latest branch opened on London Road in Alderley Edge at the end of May 2022 in a 100 cover restaurant over two floors with outdoor seating on the front terrace. Sit there long enough and you’ll be rewarded by the sight of at least one Cheshire-based celebrity and a super car or two.
Taking inspiration from Thai traditions and legends, Giggling Squid’s menu features curries, sizzling stir fries, noodles and Thai tapas showcasing Thailand’s range of exotic ingredients.
“Thai mealtimes are energetic, informal, adventurous and where food is celebrated. It’s relaxed and there’s no standing on ceremony,” says Giggling Squid co-founder, Andy Laurillard. “We simply want people to have a great time over something tasty. Every Giggling Squid has its own personal touch to it, and this restaurant is no different; it’s a beautifully designed space that we hope will bring a lot of pleasure to our guests. We can’t wait to welcome everyone in the Alderley Edge community.”
Staff are friendly and experienced, happy to steer you towards dishes that seem to genuinely be their favourites. There were a few people dining solo because they felt comfortable enough to do so, as well as older couples taking advantage of the competitively priced lunch menus. For between £10.95 (veggie squid menu) to £13.95 (Royal Squid) you can choose from six set lunch deals covering a substantial main, a couple of sides and rice. Giggling Squid also offers a vegan menu as well as a separate kids’ menu.
What we ordered
Their signature salt & pepper squid (£7.50) with a crispy coating and sweet chilli dipping sauce is a bestseller for good reason.
Steamed pork dumplings (£6.99) with a gingery light soy, ginger and rice vinegar dip were very cute, served in their own individual pot – glad we’re not doing the washing up.
We also tried Thai salmon nests (£7.75) with lemongrass, lime, ginger, chilli and shredded coconut, drizzled with salty-sweet dressing. The idea is to pick it all up as one - betel leaf wrapping included (slightly bitter cross between rocket and spinach). It’s nice to discover a new ingredient that’s not readily available in the supermarkets these days. I’m coming back to order Phuket mussels, even if it’s just to amuse myself.
There’s a hefty choice of mains at Giggling Squid – if you like to take your time choosing, it’s probably worth spending time browsing through the menu online. They’re divided into ‘From the Water’, ‘From the Land’, a varied range of aromatic curries, stir fries and noodles.
Fresh seafood dishes include soft-shell panee prawns (£15.50) or a hake feast bowl (£14.95) but I had to get a Giggling Pad Thai with prawn (£9.99.) Pad Thai is a means test, if they can’t get that right, there’s no point in trying anything else. Here it’s garnished with an eggy web draped over the top. BTW, if you love Pad Thai as much as I do they offer a Giant Butterfly King Prawn Pad Thai (£15.50) with very big prawns.
Main seem to walk the tightrope between giving people what they want and being gutsy and interesting. You’ll find the expected classics but there are also things like lamb shank massaman curry, duck confit and slow cooked ‘chubby’ pork cheeks. Sticky chicken (£11.99) was marked out as a GS favourite and was crispy and generous. Calories are all listed on the menu, so if you’re counting them, stir fried dishes are good.
Drinks include a comprehensive selection of cocktails, mocktails and gin-based signatures incorporating Asian influences. Wines and fizz have all been carefully chosen to go with Thai food, which can’t be easy to match with sweet, sour, salty and spicy flavours. All bottles are reasonably priced around £20-£25 or so. There’s even a Thai wine; Colombard, rosé and dessert wine from Monsoon Valley – which is now on my bucket list of places to visit.
Leave room for pudding. Our server was gently steering us towards their sticky mango cake (£5.95) but we could only manage ice cream which are interesting flavours including black sesame and lychee yoghurt. Our pick was jasmine and toasted rice (£4.95) - a cross between two of the most comforting things in the world; tea and rice pudding.
Giggling Squid’s ethos is centered on guests leaving their restaurants feeling full and happy. So, did we? We really did.
Giggling Squid, 50 London Road, Alderley Edge, SK9 7DZ
Open Monday-Sunday 12pm - 10.30pm.
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