One of the things I was most excited about with moving to Bristol was knowing the abundance of great restaurants there would be to try out. I’ve heard that Bristol is a fantastic city for foodies and as a food lover I couldn’t wait to get started so I was really pleased when James’ family suggested going to the Giggling Squid to celebrate the end of my first week in my new job.
Although I was more than eager to try somewhere a bit different, I have to admit that I wasn’t at all sure what to expect from a Thai Tapas place. Although I managed to get rid of most of my fears about Thai food at Khao San Road in York, I’m usually still slightly nervous about how spicy the dishes are going to be. After a quick look online I was very encouraged by a note in the menu about asking for things to be cooked as mild or spicy as you like, so was looking forward to our meal. After all, the Giggling Squid is such a great name for a restaurant – how could I not enjoy it?
Unfortunately, the tapas element of the menu is only available at lunch time so Thai Tapas as a concept wasn’t really something that we got to experience, although we did try. Between four of us we ordered the sharing platter and vegetarian sharing platter to start so that we could sample a range of different food. I did steer clear of a few of the sauces (each platter came with a choice of three) which were rather hot, but I tried some of everything else on the platters. It confirmed for me that I do not like tofu, but I also discovered that squid isn’t as bad as I thought it might be. Not a fan of the texture but the flavour was surprisingly good.
For my main course I had Massaman Chicken Curry with Jasmine Rice. The main reason I chose the curry was because it didn’t have a chilli next to it on the menu and I fancied a curry rather than a stir fry. I’m so glad I did! It was absolutely delicious. The best way to describe it would be very similar to a passanda but garnished with cashew nuts rather than almonds. It came served in a very cute little cauldron which held a surprising amount of food. There was quite an abundance of sauce left at the end, but it had also been filled with meat and vegetables and I was very full by the end.
Everyone else really enjoyed their meals as well (Thai Red Curry, Cashew Nut Stir Fry and Sizzle on a Griddle) although I don’t think we needed the extra plate that we ordered for the table. We had ordered a mixed vegetable stir fry to share, but I didn’t actually eat any of it and given how full we were all feeling at the end of the meal I don’t think it was necessary as well as the starter. We just got a bit overexcited trying different things!
The staff were very attentive and were happy to answer questions about the food and offer suggestions. The decor was also really interesting – one wall seemed to be constructed of driftwood, there was another wall which had baskets attached to it, and there was a bookcase behind us. It should have all felt slightly mismatched but actually it worked and helped to make the space feel a little bit more homely.
Other than my fabulous curry (if I go back I am going to have to push myself to try something different!), my favourite thing about the restaurant was the way the menu was written. Usually you only scan a menu until you what you want to order, but this menu was a delight to read as descriptions of the dishes were interspersed by little anecdotes such as “I know someone who can live on this! My husband always asks me to bring takeaway duck curry home for him. Slices of juicy duck breast in famous Thai curry. The sweetness of lychee and pineapple softens the spiciness of the red curry.” which was the description for the Red Duck Curry.
I really enjoyed my meal at the Giggling Squid and am looking forward to trying out more restaurants in Bristol. Please send your recommendations my way!