The Giggling Squid Sevenoaks hits all the right notes
Thai is my favourite food, which makes me a bit of a discerning diner when eating at Thai restaurants. Sadly, so many seem to throw all of the right adjectives at you – ‘authentic’, ‘modern’, ‘fragrant’ – ramping up your hopes, only for you to see those hopes rapidly dashed by a greasy spring roll, or worse still, an apparently spicy curry that fails to excite a single taste bud. Not so at the Giggling Squid – notably the Sevenoaks branch, that promised the insideKENT team an authentic Thai meal full of flavour and delivered at every turn. BY POLLY HUMPHRIS
The interior here gets a firm thumbs up for starters. A converted former church with high ceilings that flood the space with light, it’s a sleek looking restaurant with dark wood flooring, hints of bamboo, gorgeous deep green plants that add a sense of life while looking incredibly stylish too, and soft lighting tucked away behind modern wall motifs made from wood in neutral shades. It looks Thai without screaming an identity at you, which is the welcome sign of a thoughtful interior as opposed to one that looks too dressed or, worse still, themed.
Onto the actual starters… We have some seasoned Thai eaters on our team and some that had, until this lunch, never tried the cuisine and so weren’t familiar with certain items on the menu, but this caused absolutely no problem.
Alongside more recognisable delicious dishes such as chicken satay, spring rolls and pork ribs, there are also some more traditional Thai offerings such as crispy pak maew – a lightly-fried tempura of the little known leafy Thai vegetable, pak maew, and sleeping honey duck – tender duck breast cooked in honey with cashew nuts. Every starter was devoured, as was the restaurant’s show-stopping salt and pepper squid, which is renowned across the South East and that you must order; crispy on the outside and extremely tender in the middle, it melts in your mouth leaving a delightful kick of salt on your tongue.
Broken down into individual Thai tapas, two-dish combis, one big dish and Thai tapas sets of four slightly smaller dishes served on one large square plate divided into sections, the menu caters for all appetite sizes as well as all tastes, and means diners can try a good selection of food without over-ordering…or, thankfully, sharing. The ‘Two Giggling Squids’ – a tasty combination of chicken massaman curry, salt and pepper squid, lime and chilli beef and
jasmine rice looked as lovely as it tasted and was a popular choice around the table, as was Thai ‘old faithful’, chicken green curry – creamy with coconut milk, generous with vegetables and buzzing with classic Thai herbs and spices like lemongrass and galangal, it’s definitely the best Thai green curry I’ve tasted and it wasn’t shy with punchy chilli either, which it shouldn’t be.
Thai food is all about that irresistible combination of salt, sour, sweet and spice that dance on your taste buds together, producing a really satisfying depth of flavour and which food at the Giggling Squid delivers with an expert touch. If Thai food is your thing, or if you’re a total newbie to the exceptional cookery that this gastronomic gem serves up, book a table now – you won’t be disappointed.
Giggling Squid Sevenoaks
3c Dorset Street