You’ve been craving a meal out someplace nice for a while now haven’t you? We feel you.
While takeaways have played their part this last year, we fancied being fancy about it this time. We thought the best way to spice up another Monday night in in lockdown was to try out the Giggling Squid Leicester takeaway service - especially since it's Veganuary and I'd heard they had a great vegan menu.
I’d attempted to book a table since it opened on February 10 last year, but I couldn’t quite get my hands on a table before everything shut down because of coronavirus.
It was the talk of the town being such a head-turner with its hand-picked flower walls, Tudor-style wall paneling, homely booth seating arrangements, and white, green, wooden, and mirrored décor choices that made it cosy yet uniquely refreshing. It was a restaurant you didn’t want to pass by.
Giggling Squid is a family-run chain of Thai restaurants co-founded by husband and wife Andy and Pranee Laurillard. The restaurants and menus take inspiration from Pranee’s childhood in Thailand.
Their philosophy is centred on guests leaving feeling fulfilled, both physically and emotionally, making Giggling Squid perfect for a delicious meal and moment of merriment in a year of unprecedented times.
But could they still have that physical and emotional impact on their diners from afar?
You can order a Giggling Squid takeaway via Deliveroo, but it’s worth noting that, if you really want to make the experience special – maybe for a date night, birthday, anniversary, or Valentine’s Day coming up – collecting your order from the restaurant itself will give you that extra bit of joy.
It’s a true treat to walk briefly into the charming, adorned-in-fairly-lights St Martin’s Square of an evening and up to the brightly lit Giggling Squid, flowers in full bloom.
Safety first though. We recommend wearing your face coverings on your short walk through the square. When you’re at the restaurant, the door will be unlocked for you and you are invited to open the door yourself.
The greeting I received was inviting and super friendly yet socially distanced with a little bit of a talk through the dishes in my pretty paper takeaway bags, which looked more like fancy, boutique shopping bags.
Back at home, opening the takeaway gave me that feeling of opening a package you’d ordered online that you couldn’t wait to receive. However, the food was slightly cold by the time we got back but we did anticipate this.
We unboxed three starters: Delicious Thai Chicken Wings, Grilled Squid and Crisped Thai Garlic, and Big Flavour Mushroom Larb; two mains: Sticky Chicken and Butternut Boat; and the Melting Heart for dessert.
The story goes that Pranee initially didn’t want to take on chicken wings before the Delicious Thai Chicken Wings (£5.95) were added to the menu as she didn’t want the Giggling Squid to be another Nando’s. These wings could not be further from a Nando’s if Pranee tried (which she probably did). Unlike any wing they’ve ever tasted before, our chicken-wing tester described them as juicy, melt-in-the-mouth goodness. He was pleased that the meat was marinated to an exceptional level making it tender and tasty throughout. A five out of five-star review for these fantastically flavoured wings.
We couldn’t not try squid from Giggling Squid. The Grilled Squid and Crisped Thai Garlic (£6.50) entails turmeric-grilled squid sprinkled with crunchy fried Thai garlic cloves, skin on. However, it didn’t quite stand out as it might have been expected to taking after the name of the restaurant. Nonetheless, it was fresh and felt like a healthy choice.
One of two unexpected stars of the night, the Big Flavour Mushroom Larb (£5.95) on the vegan menu, really was jam-packed with big flavours that seemed to leap out of nowhere, surprising me with every mouthful. As a vegetarian fed up on behalf of vegans when they’re asked what they ‘even eat’, I give you Giggling Squid’s mushroom larb. It was something I added to our order on a whim and I didn’t expect it to be my favourite. With three or four different kinds of exotic mushrooms each delivering a different texture, from chunky to noodly, all tossed in with mint, dried chilli flakes, and shallots, this dish was spicy, minty, lemony, and salty all one after the other.
On to the mains then, the Sticky Chicken (£11.50) from the stir fry selection is apparently a favourite among Giggling regulars. We can see why. It was the perfect mix of crispiness and stickiness with succulent chicken underneath the crunchy but gooey skin. It was an experience in itself as every aromatic forkful hit you with fragrant oriental scents before taking your next bite.
The vegan Butternut Boat (£11.50) was an impressive looking dish that definitely delivered the wow factor. A green curry of squash and green beans came in an actual butternut squash cut in half and hollowed out. Not usually on the takeaway menu, it was a vibrant and spicy dish and the squash chunks were cooked to a beautifully soft texture with crunchy beans to contrast. It came with a mix of fresh and tasty tender-stem broccoli and peppers.
And the second unexpected star of the night was the Melting Heart (£5.95) dessert. Not being a huge fan of most desserts, it has to be said that this cute little sponge certainly melted my heart. There, I said it. Soft and gooey, it’s a perfect Valentine’s treat that comes with a slice of orange, half a kiwi, and half a strawberry.
Giggling Squid made what would be another normal Monday night a full experience that delivered both physically and emotionally.