If you watched my Instagram stories over the first couple of weeks of June you may have seen that I was away in Thailand. Whilst in Thailand I developed a love for Massaman curry (it’s what I ate most nights for dinner admittedly) as well as lots of calamari and spring rolls. Towards the end, I started to panic a bit and try a whole range of other things, but anyway, that’s another story.
Since returning home I’ve really missed the authenticity of Thai cooking. Often it felt like you were in someone else’s home and they were preparing from their kitchen for you which I loved.
This led me on a hunt to find somewhere in Oxford that serves decent Thai food with a similar kind of vibe. My search only threw up three places really (in no particular order…) the first was Chiang Mai Kitchen on the High Street near Carfax which I have eaten at before so I must go back and write a review at some point. Next was Thaikhun on George Street (meh) but the other place that really caught my attention that is only around 3-4 months old, The Giggling Squid in Jericho.
The Giggling Squid is a group of restaurants which I hadn’t heard of before but they have a really nice background. They started off as a wife and husband sat in the basement of a tiny, tiny fisherman’s cottage (now the Giggling Squid Brighton restaurant) way back in 2002 and pulled together their first Thai Tapas menu. Their idea was to cook simple, rustic, fresh Thai food. They now have more than 30 restaurants so clearly they are doing something well (32 restaurants in total).
To start, I had absolutely zero expectations and did not really do a lot of research on what The Giggling Squid looked like on the inside before visiting, I only knew that people said they loved the food at their other restaurants outside of Oxford.
So on first impressions when walking into the restaurant, I was a bit taken aback. After my dining experiences in Bangkok, I did not set high expectations for decor in a Thai restaurant as in my opinion simplistic furniture and decoration really do the job for me as long as the food is good. However, it was a pleasant surprise to find that a lot of effort had gone into decorating the place nicely.
The best way to describe it is if you have ever visited Victors in the Westgate, I would say it was very similar to that. A sumptuous looking interior and you can tell the clientele, generally speaking, are doing okay for themselves (or maybe that’s something to do with it being in Jericho :)).
I took a picture of the main menu below at the time of visiting so you can see what is on offer and the prices of some of the items on the menu.
Food and Drinks
Before we ordered anything we were kindly asked if we would like some warm crackers to start, we said yes of course and were not dissapointed. I know it sounds so simple but the crackers came out warm and were accompanied by a nice sweet chilli dip which was a nice way to start the meal.
To start, I ordered the Chicken Satay skewers and you could tell the chicken had been marinated and came with a separate propper peanut satay sauce which was delicious and an ‘A-Jared picked vegetables’ – I remember this being served quite a lot in Thailand and it was a nice accompaniment.
My other half went for the duck spring rolls. Shredded duck mixed with carrot, celery and spring onion wrapped in Thai pastry. These were seriously good.
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I was really blown away by this option and it deserves some extra context. Whenever I have ordered a Massaman curry before I would see the option of chicken, beef or seafood to go with it. The Giggling Squid offer their own unique twist – Massaman curry with Lamb Shank (wow!) I thought this was genius and can see how this would go so well so I had to order it.
The sauce was perfect and the lamb just completely fell off the bone which I loved. The meat complimented the sauce very well. My only small grumble would be that I wasn’t asked if I would like it spicy or not, but it still tasted amazing!
My other half decided to go for the beef and cashew stir fry. I tried a bit of this and it was cooked very nicely.
We both ordered sticky rice with our mains and it was proper sticky rice to the point where you could pick the entire portion up with your fork (I loved that!).
And finally we were stuffed after all of that to opted to share the Sweet Heavens Above Trio which comes with a Salted Caramel Souffle, Mini Melting Heart chocolate Dessert and a Pineapple and Coconut Finger. This was a great dessert if you are feeling rather full but would like something sweet to finish off your meal that isn’t too overwhelming.
Accompanying the dessert we had Harmony Tea which I believe we also had in Thailand a couple of times, it was a nice way to cleanse the pallet and I enjoyed it.
Conclusions and Final Thoughts
Overall I would say if you are considering a visit to Giggling Squid, definitely go ahead if you’re in the mood for some Thai food. It is ideal for a nice occasion as the prices are a bit higher than the average restaurant but I would argue for that you are also getting great quality and decent service too.