An invitation to review a restaurant at this time was unexpected but very agreeable, as you imagine. Giggling Squid in Guildford was a new venue for me and business partner Marcus, although we have previously had a very good ‘tapas style’ lunch in their Farnham branch when it opened a few years ago.
Masked up, we went along during the week for lunch. The tables were suitably distanced and we were given a window table enabling us to see the drizzle descend upon Guildford. Warmly ensconced, we ordered a couple of refreshing Chang beers as we took a look at the menu. The lunch menu, as before, offers tapas style dining but having tried that before, we opted for the full menu which is available in the evenings but also at lunchtime if you prefer.
It offers a very wide choice which made picking dishes rather difficult. We plumped for Hawker-Style Moo Ping, happily fully described in the menu given the name gives nothing away. These garlic and coriander marinated pork skewers came with an excellent tamarind dipping sauce and were very good, super tender and juicy. The Betel Leaf & Ginger Lime Salmon Morsels came beautifully presented on betel leaves (a first for me) and made for a lovely and light one-bite nibble. We had four of these and the ginger, chilli and roasted shredded coconut made for a lovely crunch, although I would have preferred a little more dressing as they were a little dry.
For the main courses, we opted for two very different dishes. The Rising Start Red Duck Curry was a dish of great beauty. Very rich, with lovely slices of duck breast, star fruits and pea aubergines, this is decadent but quite delicious. The Home Comfort Beef & Aubergine, by contrast, offers a real umami type punch – stir fried minced beef with chilli, garlic and basil and baby aubergine. Wonderfully savoury, this was a big hit and probably (but marginally) my favourite dish. We pared these with coconut and egg fried rice plus a side dish of fried noodles with bean sprouts, as well as a very enjoyable bottle of French Malbec which complemented the dishes we chose very well.
I usually refrain from puddings but we know our readers like them, so I plumped for the very refreshing Pineapple, Coconut & Mekhong Sorbet which was a great palate cleanser and not too sweet. Marcus rather swiftly dispatched the Melting Heart Chocolate Dessert, served warm with an oozy chocolate centre and vanilla ice cream, which he enjoyed very much.
A good review always ends with words like ‘we will be back’. And indeed we will, because this really was an excellent meal. The only problem, with such an extensive menu, is that you want to be able to have a taste of more than one or two dishes. At least the rule of six will allow you to bring friends and share – assuming of course that they will let you. If not, the tapas lunchtime menu makes great sense. Either way, do go. If you love what they term ‘staggeringly good Thai food’ (not wrong there), you won’t be disappointed.
Giggling Squid, 8-9 Chapel St, Guildford GU1 3UH