The Giggling Squid is in competition with Pizza Express, Wagamama, Jamie’s Italian and Loungers, which will be decided by voting among the nation’s leading two hundred restaurateurs.
Giggling Squid currently has locations in Hove, Brighton, Crawley, Tunbridge Wells, Henley and Reigate. The fast expanding group will also open in Stratford, Marlow, Horsham and Maidstone between now Easter on its quest to become the first chain of Thai restaurants in the country.
The Giggling Squid is owned and managed by husband and wife team Andy and Pranee Laurillard. Pranee was raised in Thailand before moving to the UK to study for a masters degree. The restaurants’ name is taken from the nickname of one of their three children.
“It’s gratifying to be short-listed in the Family Restaurant category – we have no children’s menu, ball pit or colour-in place mats,” said Andy, adding, “It shows the market is moving away from food and an eating environment dumbed-down to the lowest common denominator.”
Parents at Giggling Squid tend to order non spicy items from the tapas menu for their offspring such as sticky rice, grilled chicken, noodles, stir fry or prawns on skewers. Children get to eat “adult food” – high quality freshly cooked rather than not items like sausages, burgers and fish fingers served in some called “family restaurants”.
The Laurillards are keen to emphasis that “the family” isn’t just about children and that grand parents and great grand parents are just as important to a culture that reveres its senior members.
“In Thailand the whole family eat together and enjoy the same things,” said Pranee. “Although our chefs will tame down the more fiery dishes for children on request – more kids these days really enjoy spicy food,”
The company expects to open between six and eight new sites in the fiscal year to April 2015, on its journey to become an 80-strong chain within 7 years.
R200 award winners will be announced at a gala dinner being held at Merchants Tavern in Shoreditch in London on 6th November. The former Victorian warehouse and apothecary and "one of the most exciting new restaurant venues in London", Merchants Tavern is the result of a collaboration between chefs Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick and Canteen founders Dominic Lake and Patrick Clayton-Malone.