We chat to Giggling Squid’s founder, Pranee, who chose to open her first restaurant in Brilliant Brighton, about the city’s food scene, her love for Thailand and her favourite dishes…
Hi Pranee! What drew you to Brighton and Hove for your first Giggling Squid restaurant?
Brighton has a free spirit and cosmopolitan feel which attracted me immensely. This gives Brighton a very unique character with a vibrant food scene, lots of independent shops selling unusual things, second hand markets and so many other attractions. One of the things that stands out most for me is that people are laid back and positive.
Tell us what led you to start off Giggling Squid as restaurant business
I was keen to create the ultimate Thai experience here in the UK. Giggling Squid is all about how people eat their meals in Thailand. It’s about sharing lots of dishes, celebrating the abundance of flavours and ingredients in a relaxed setting – no standing on ceremony or dressing up to enjoy the food and each other’s company! It was also important for me to focus on beautiful décor – to create a place where customers can delight in the surroundings as well as the food.
Giggling Squid is such a unique nickname for a restaurant, would you mind sharing the story behind it?
It’s actually the nickname we gave one of our lovely three children!
Can you tell us what inspired you when creating the dishes?
There’s a story and a lot of love behind each of the Giggling Squid dishes. Thai traditions and legends inspire me as well as my personal memories of traveling around Thailand with my mum, visiting the local markets. I go back to Thailand every year and each time I discover new, exciting ingredients.
Speaking of new exotic ingredients, where do you usually get it from? Do you import it directly from Thailand?
We import fresh Thai herbs and vegetables directly from Thailand such as Mah Kwan which is a rare pepper found in Northern Thailand. However we do make use of the abundance of seasonal British produce including meat, fish, fruit and vegetables.
Do you have any favourites from the menu? Your classic go to?
To be honest, I have a lot of favourite dishes – it depends on how hungry I am. If I’m looking for something light, I would go for a couple of starters such as Betel Leaf & Ginger Lime Salmon Morsels and Big Flavour Mushroom Larb but if I’m very hungry Chubby Cheek Pork with a side of jasmine rice is my go to choice.
What would your top tips be on running a successful restaurant chain?
Never sitting still when it comes to creating menus, keep innovating, create beautiful interiors with the same passion and commitment that goes into the food and above all delivering the entire eating experience with heart and generosity.
Christmas is nearly upon us so what can we expect from Giggling Squid Christmas menu?
We’re really excited about our festive menu but please don’t expect roast turkey or Brussels Sprouts. There is however something for everyone – Garlic Butterfly Prawns, Merry Mussels, our vegan Butternut Boat and Joyous Red Duck. We can’t wait to bring it to Brighton and Hove!
Giggling Squid is operating in 34 sites, is the sky the limit?
My goal has always been to create brilliant restaurants, one by one, and to continue to share our love of Thai food.
When you aren’t working what do you like to do in Brilliant Brighton?
We love coming down to Brighton as a family. It is so lovely driving down to Ovingdean and catching a glimpse of the sea ahead of us. Getting closer to the seafront, the smell of the sea and the sounds of the beach remind me of when we lived here. We love walking in Rottingdean village just outside of Brighton and bumping into familiar faces. We would love to go back to Brighton more often; there’s something magical about the sea and tea shops on the promenade!
Find Giggling Squid at 11 Market Street.
Phone: 01273 737373
Opening Times: Mon-Thurs: 12-10pm, Fri & Sat: 12-10:30pm, Sun: 12-9:30pm.