Giggling Squid, Clifton Village: Review

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Giggling Squid - Exterior

 

While the new Bristol branch of Giggling Squid on Princess Victoria Street in Clifton Village may be part of a chain, it’s a new opening that I’ve been excited about for a while. I think it’s fairly safe to say that we’re not exactly spoilt for choice when it comes to great Thai dining options in Bristol, but having read reviews of the group’s other branches (Clifton is the 12th), I had a feeling that this place may become my new favourite. If the food, atmosphere, service and environment we enjoyed on their pre-launch evening is anything to go by, then my feeling, I think, was right.

The restaurant – previously home to a branch of Strada – is stunning. Fairly inconspicuous on the outside, walk in through the front door and you’re faced with a dining room that offers plenty to feast your eyes on throughout your meal, but in a tasteful, not tacky, way.

Exposed brickwork jostles for space with an amazing feature wall of natural wooden planks, all jutting out at different distances from the wall. In one corner you’ll find a selection of baskets hung up on the wall, and throughout there are muted starfish images mounted onto square wooden planks. The lighting is dimmable, with a variety of different styles of light fixture throughout the dining room, and we were seated on plain wooden chairs at a plain wooden table, decorated only with simple place mats. We loved it.

 

Giggling Squid - Interior

Giggling Squid - Wall

 

As it was a pre-launch night, we dined from a limited menu – take a look at their website, though, and you’ll see the full a la carte, takeaway, lunch, dessert and wine menus. Annoyingly, as we didn’t see the full menus, we currently have no idea on pricing – but we’ll share prices as soon as we have them!

Our evening began with a portion of moreish, lightly spiced Thai prawn crackers, perfectly puffed and not greasy at all – along with a sweet chilli dipping sauce with plenty of flavour.

 

Giggling Squid - Prawn Crackers

 

To start, Chris ordered the pork dumplings: four well-crafted dumplings that were soft and light, with a casing of the perfect thickness. Attractively served on individual ceramic spoons, each dumpling sat in a dip of soy and rice vinegar – truly beautiful.

 

Giggling Squid - Pork Dumplings

 

I’m something of a salt and pepper squid addict, so it would have been crazy not to try the Giggling Squid version – and apparently it’s one of the most popular starters across their restaurants. Presented nestled in an upturned half shell, the portion was certainly generous with tender squid and a delicious thick but light batter that was well seasoned. The sliced spring onions and red chillies added still more of a kick, while the fruity and spicy dipping sauce was tasty, but almost not needed – the squid stood up for itself pretty damn well.

 

Giggling Squid - salt and pepper squid

 

We both went down the curry route for our main courses: a green chicken curry for Chris, a chicken massaman curry for me. We were impressed with the heavy cast iron pots in which both curries were served, which were brought to our table complete with lids that were whisked off by our waiter to reveal some truly amazing smells. The chicken was sliced thinly and still perfectly juicy – I just felt it was a shame that there are only chicken and lamb massaman options on the menu, though, rather than the traditional beef.

The green curry certainly had a kick to it (you can ask for it to be made hotter or less spicy if you wish), the sauce wonderfully creamy and playing host to crunchy bamboo shoots and green beans, plus cucumber and red pepper.

The massaman curry was seriously, seriously good – jam packed full of wedges of onion as well as cubed carrot and potato (the kitchen team had even taken the time to shape the edges of the carrot!), and topped with whole cashew nuts and a sprinkling of crispy onions. While mild in terms of heat, as it should be, the coconut-scented sauce was clearly packed full of spices to give it a rich, warming flavour.

Each of the curries was served with a bowl of sticky rice, perfect for soaking up the sauces.

 

Giggling Squid - Curries

 

Throughout our meal, service was friendly and attentive (sometimes a little too much so – but it was the pre-launch night and the staff were still very new!) With such a beautiful restaurant setting, delicious food and good customer service, this could well be my new favourite Thai restaurant in Bristol…

 

Please note: this meal was received free of charge, but in no way impacted on our opinion. We were not obliged to write a positive review, and the venue did not see this review before it was put up on the site.

 

One Response to Giggling Squid, Clifton Village: Review

  1. There aren’t any prices on their website, nor in this review… how much are the meals?

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