The narrow, winding Lanes of Brighton don't seem like the most obvious place to find stunning Thai food, and yet that's where the Brighton punters keep going. Serving up creamy Tom Yum soup, crispy spring rolls, plates of pad thai and bubbling curries (heated to your exact specifications), Brighton's Giggling Squid is setting the standard for Thai food on the south coast.
Thai food, destination . . . Brighton
From humble beginnings come extraordinary things.
That's what the history of Giggling Squid tells us, at any rate. They started out in the cramped basement of a Brightonian fisherman's cottage way back in 2002, offering an innovative Thai Tapas menu that quickly attracted admirers from all over the city.
Plain sailing? Not a bit of it. They had to weather leaky ceilings and tight purse strings, but their menu was such a success that they've since opened 21 different locations across the UK. Colour us impressed.
Offering bright, vibrant colours and gorgeous aromatic flavours, it's clear that the food at Giggling Squid is something special. Kick things off with one of their delicious starters. They're built to share, so don't get too greedy – that's if you can help yourself, of course. The sesame king prawns, coated in black sesame seeds and crunchy breadcrumbs, are plump, juicy and tender, while the spring rolls are perfect if you're looking to start your meal with something a little lighter.
Giggling Squid's menu is extensive, so there are plenty of different options when it comes to your mains. Choose from noodles (part of the Thai tapas tradition that the restaurant was built on) as well as curry, seafood and shellfish. We're big fans of the beef tropical jungle curry (Keang Pa). Unlike most traditional Thai curries, it doesn't use any coconut milk – instead, it simmers with delicious Thai herbs. You can taste the care and attention with which it was cooked in each delectable mouthful.
Giggling Squid's crowning achievement is probably their collection of duck dishes. The headline act might be the red duck curry. The thick and succulent slices of duck breast, dotted with lychee and pineapple, are absolutely sensational, and serve as a true testament to Thai cuisine.
There's also a good line of soups on offer at the restaurant. You've got the Tom Kha, made using creamy coconut milk, and the Tom Yum – a suitable name if ever we've heard one. The Tom Yum's a little lighter and comes packed with herbs and spices, lemongrass, lime leaves, mushrooms, galangal and chilli, making it ideal for anyone trying to keep the pounds off.
On the health kick
If you're looking for a healthy meal, Giggling Squid is an ideal choice. Their stir fries are some of the best in the city. The chicken pad khing, served with shredded ginger, spring onion and black mushroom, is hugely popular, perfectly healthy and filling at the same time.