As Mums, sitting down and eating a hot meal in peace and quiet is quite a luxury these days, so I was excited when I was recently asked to visit the Giggling Squid restaurant in Hove to review their brand new menu. Hot food, child free and uninterrupted, maybe even a glass of prosecco – what more could I ask for? So I invited another frazzled Mum friend to enjoy the experience too. Hannah has a toddler 2 days younger than Violet. We met at NCT and ended up in hospital beds next to each other after their births – we’ve kept in touch with regular playdates since, but never really get a chance to catch up without distraction from the littles. She’s launching her own business Hannah Issi and I’m now full time with my blog, so we had plenty to catch up on, from toddler tantrums, nappy contents to being entrepreneur Mums, we had a lot to catch up on!
I absolutely love Thai food, so Giggling Squid is one of my favourite places to go for something to eat, although being vegetarian I’ve always found their menu a little hit and miss, so I was hoping to find the new menu would feature some more veggie dishes.
When we arrived at the restaurant, it was a lovely summers evening so they had the big windows at the front open. It was light, airy and the rustic interior is authentically Thai. We were greeted by the manager who explained in great detail which dishes were new on the menu, asking me if I was vegetarian/vegan and presented me with another vegan menu – I had high hopes that there would be a few more choices this time!
We sipped our drinks as we perused the menu over a basket of Prawn crackers. The Lychee Prosecco we ordered was divine, in fact it was HEAVENLY. It was a shame I was driving and could only have a small one!
I looked through the vegan menu and I have to say, I was a bit disappointed. I think they’ve missed the point of having a separate veggie menu as it wasn’t anything additional to the main menu, it was just a handful of the same dishes, created in the most basic way without meat/fish. Out of a list of around 20 starters on the main menu, only 2 would be suitable for vegetarians, which is such a shame! Brighton especially has a huge veggie/vegan population so I’m surprised it’s been so overlooked.
The spring rolls however, were presented beautifully and were very tasty, but they are obviously not the most exciting, new or unique choice!
Luckily, the friend I’d taken for the review was not vegetarian, so she was able to sample some of the main menu. She went for the Grilled Squid with Crisp Thai Garlic, which on the menu was accompanied by a tales of the chefs summer holidays in Thailand to really set the mood of the dish and take you straight to the streets of Thailand, where this food would be readily available. She said the dish was sweet yet highly garlicky (glad I wasn’t seeing her the following day – ha!)
For our main courses, again the menu for vegetarians was disappointing! I went for the Pad Thai with vegetables which was just written in a side part of the menu in small text, it was difficult to know if this was a main or side dish by the way the menu was written – I checked with the waiter and went for that as my main option. As Pad Thai goes, it was flavourful and delicious, presented well in a little ‘egg basket’, but it’s a dish I’ve had 100 times and can cook myself, I was looking forward to trying something new!
For the meat and fish lovers, there is an extensive menu, with plenty of new dishes, each with their own little story and background to explain the dish. My friend was spoiled for choice, but eventually went with the chefs recommendation of Bold Krachai Prawns and Riceberry Rice, which is a fruity, healthier twist on your standard steamed rice.
She said her prawns were a complex, deep authentic Thai flavour, which was actually quite spicy!
Next up, was the desserts which was a mix of classic favourites like the ‘Melting Heart Chocolate Dessert‘ to puddings with more of a Thai twist, like the Caramelised Mango cake and Coconut Pudding, which are the two we went for in the end. My coconut pudding was amazing, the coconut flavours reminded me of my favourite dish – Mango Sticky Rice, which I’ve had a lot in Thailand, this dish is more subtle and lighter after a big meal so it was just the perfect way to round off the meal.
All in all, I’m still a big fan of Giggling Squid and think they are great I what they do, I just wish they would take their vegetarian/vegan dishes a bit more seriously and realise veggies want more choice than the same Pad Thai that has been on the menu since the restaurant opened! The quality of food is fantastic, the waiters speak with such passion and enthusiasm about the dishes, I feel this would be the icing on the cake to have a few new unique veggie dishes to try to give the menu a truly balanced mix for all tastes and requirements.
We really enjoyed our meal at Giggling Squid and I will go back, but hopefully by then, there might be a few new dishes to try……
We were kindly invited to the Giggling Squid for a complimentary meal in return of an open and honest review – all words and opinions are my own.