WHEN my partner and I arrived at the Giggling Squid in Billericay High Street on a Friday night, it was rammed to the rafters despite the weather being sub zero, which is always a good sign.

So, having thankfully pre-booked a table, all that remained to be seen was whether it lived up to the hype.

Competition for culinary custom in Billericay’s High Street is fierce with a plethora of restaurants and cafes competing to part you from your hard-earned cash and, as a relative newcomer to the town, it seems the Squid has swiftlymade its mark.

The service was exceptional from the start.

Having been ushered to our table, my partner told the waitress she could only eat gluten-free food. No problem, she said, before swiftly returning with a chart which outlined which dishes best suited her needs. A small touch, but a welcome one which showed attention to detail.

I amno great expert when it comes to Thai food, but the starters swiftly converted me to its attractions.

My partner opted for a starter of roast duck canapes with ginger, celery, onion and tomato, a combination she said “hit the spot perfectly”.

My steamed pork dumpling augmented with a soy and rice vinegar dip certainly got the taste buds tingling and set both of us up nicely for our mains.

After much deliberation, my partner decided on the Paneang chicken curry accompanied by coconut rice and garnished with finely chopped lime leaves.

Silence descended on our table as she wolfed it down and I was equally incommunicado as I tucked into the quite excellent and bizarrely-named crying beef, which turned out to be succulent sliced beef sirloin with a spice dipping sauce. It went down a stormwith a bowl of egg fried rice.

Feeling full after working our way through the main courses, my partner declined a dessert, but I was not to be denied and went for the black sesame flavoured ice cream, which when it arrived was larger than expected with two huge dollops and a small fruit salad. It was delicious and the perfect end to a lovely evening in extremely convivial surroundings.

So, yes, the Giggling Squid does live up to the hype.

Just a word of warning, though. If you are planning to visit on a weekend, make sure you book a table.

It gets busy at peak times, very busy indeed.


Roast duck on baby leaf canapes £5.75

Pork dumpling £6.25

Paneang chicken curry £9.95

Crying beef £14.95

Coconut rice £3.45

Egg fried rice £3.45

Black sesame flavoured ice cream £4.95