It’s that time of year when everyone is ill but we all pretend we aren’t. We battle into the office, noses streaming, coughing over each other and sniffing into hot lemsips insisting that we’re fine and we’re just a little under the weather. Mr TGE and I are no exception, except of course that I don’t do the pretending I’m fine bit. One of the only things that improves my mood when I’m ill is complaining loudly and often to anyone within earshot about just how ill I am and how dreadful it is. We get our kicks where we can. I complained so successfully during this recent cold that 15 minutes after whinging there was a knock at the door – one of my lovely BridesBoys had Deliveroo’d a large box of cakes from Pinkmans bakery to me in place of traditional medicine. Hurrah for the restorative power of brownies!
As we were both feeling a lot better, but no so much better that we actually wanted to cook, Mr TGE insisted on a drizzly Sunday night that we pop out for a spontaneous dinner. We haven’t spent much time in Clifton recently so decided to drive up the village and see what took our fancy. In search of something warming and hearty we decided on The Giggling Squid on Princess Victoria Street for some Thai food – perfect for a wet Bristol night. The Clifton branch in one of over 20 restaurants in the Giggling Squid chain and prides itself on delivering “staggeringly good Thai food” according to its website…
The restaurant was exceptionally busy when we arrived and we were lucky to bag one of the only available tables. Unfortunately for us it was next to a fairly strong draft but as there wasn’t anywhere else we could move to there wasn’t much we could do. Service was efficient and polite, although staff did seem a little overwhelmed by the number of customers. The restaurant did have a lovely buzzy atmosphere however and the décor and lighting made for a cosy experience on a cold night.
To start I ordered a ‘Mango Passion’ juice which was pleasant enough but overpriced for what it was at £3.95 while Mr TGE opted for a Chang beer, also £3.95. We perused the menu which was full of tempting options including curries, seafood, noodle dishes and stir fries – we decided we needed to try starters as well as main courses! I chose the ‘yummy duck spring rolls’ for £7.25 and Mr TGE opted for the salt and pepper squid, also £7.25. My spring rolls had a generous filling of tender shredded duck mixed with carrots, celery and spring onion in crisp thai pastry. They were served piping hot with a small side dish of hoisin sauce which wasn’t quite enough for the 4 large spring rolls but was delicious. I was very impressed with the size of the dish though and had to recruit Mr TGE to help me finish it! His starter of squid was equally generous and the batter was light and nicely seasoned from the salt and pepper. The dish also came with a saucer of what looked like sweet and sour sauce but was actually a deceptively hot chili sauce. I personally found it quite unpleasant and we both found it far too hot for the delicate squid flavour.
Moving on to our main course, we both opted for the chicken massaman curry. When I was out in Thailand for 6 weeks a few years ago I pretty much lived off of it. I absolutely loved the gently spiced creamy coconut flavour so I find it hard to turn down the opportunity to have it here when I get the chance. The curry dishes don’t automatically come with rice, which I always find slightly annoying, especially when, as in this case, the rice was £3 to add on.
The curry arrived in bubbling cauldrons giving out a tantalising aroma. The sauce was rich and delicious with plenty of gentle, spicy flavour. It was the perfect winter warmer dish with a good helping of chicken and well cooked potatoes, absolutely delicious and I would certainly order it again. Less impressive was the serving of the sticky rice which was served in a crumpled plastic bag, crushed at the bottom of the little wicker basket it arrived in. I’ve never been served sticky rice quite like that (certainly not in Thailand!) and it was pretty unattractive. The rice had also moved over from sticky territory into completely solid so it was difficult to tear apart to share. It was however pretty filling and so even though it was a small portion, was fine for both of us.
Overall a lovely meal with good service, if a few niggles. So was it “staggeringly good Thai food” as the website boasts? In my opinion, no. But it was pretty bloomin’ tasty and I would absolutely go back, especially for those duck rolls.
P.S – We headed over to The Albion pub round the corner finish the night and enjoy the cosy fire (and look longingly at the prosecco deal…)