Tombland is quickly becoming one of the busiest areas in Norwich, with the well established Zizzis, Prezzo and Edith Cavell Pub always being popular, alongside bars like Vodka Revolution, Revolution Cuba and All Bar One (which all do great food as well btw!) there is something for every occasion and taste.
Giggling Squid is right in between Zizzis and the newly opened Erpingham House (an all plant-based restaurant I cannot wait to try), and was my first experience of true ‘Thai Food’. Before this, I had only had a homemade thai green curry, which while is lovely I’m not sure Tesco curry paste really counts as authentic Thai cuisine.
I would definitely recommend ordering a few different dishes so you can try a variety of things. The menu is composed of starters, curries, stir-fries, noodle dishes, and sides, and we opted for the vegetable spring rolls, Panaeg curry, Gra Pao stir fry and brown rice. The spring rolls were piping hot and not greasy like your usual takeaway, the curry was made with coconut milk (as all bar one of the curries are, which is what makes them distinguishable from the tomato or dairy cream based curries of India) and the perfect blend of richness , sweet and spice. The stir fry had chillis and basil, alongside the usual ginger, garlic and soy sauce flavours. Of course we ordered off the vegetarian menu (which they have printed separately making it even easier to order), and the dishes mostly consisted of baby sweetcorn, petit pois peas, peppers, pak choi and tofu. As all the dishes are made freshly I’m sure you could ask for any of these changed or left out, and they also change the spice level according to your asking (we kept them as they are, but did avoid the fresh chilli slices in the stir fry as they were pretty hot!). The one bowl of rice was also enough for both our dishes as we had the spring rolls to dip into the curry as well (maybe not the best etiquette, but the curry sauce just tasted toooo good). They also do coconut rice, jasmine rice and sticky rice to suit everyone, but my friend and I both felt the brown rice had the right amount of savoury. almost nuttiness that complimented the slight coconut curry flavour.
The decor of the two floor restaurant was absolutely beautiful, but you can also sit outside, as we chose as ‘al fresco’ is my favourite way to eat.
A near by river also is also lovely for a pre or post dinner walk around.
They also have an extensive drinks list consisting of both ‘traditional’ and more ‘Thai’ inspired drinks. I opted for a ‘Thai Coconut’ – gin and fresh coconut flavoured rum served with Fever Tree ginger ale and a squeeze of lime, which was so pretty and the perfect balance of sweet coconut and sharp ginger. While not cheap (at just under £7), they are not any more than you would expect to pay at most bars. The dishes themselves were very reasonably priced, at around £10 and sides around £3.50, which for such fresh, authentic dishes I thought was amazing value!
While there are actually nearly 30 Giggling Squids across the country, the building’s design felt unique, niche and like an independent restaurant.
If you have never tried Thai before, or are a regular and already know you love it, love food so spicy it makes you cry or prefer more delicate flavours, want a place to catch up with friends or a more intimate dining experience, I would definitely recommend Giggling Squid. Utterly impressed.
180g Biscuits of choice (Hobnobs, Lotus, Oreos are some of the best vegan options)
60g vegan spread, melted
200g Vegan cream cheese
349g Silken tofu
Flavourings of choice, I used:
4 tbsp cocoa powder
Crushed vegan honeycomb (to decorate)
Place the biscuits in a food bag and smash with a rolling pin, you may have to do this in two parts (or blitz in a food processor).
Transfer to a bowl, gradually add in the melted spread and stir until it takes a wet sand consistency. Then oil your tin of choice with spread or vegetable oil (I used one with 12 individual circles but you can use a more traditional large one, just make sure it has a pop up bottom). Divide the biscuit mix and push it down with the back of a spoon, then leave it in the fridge while you make the filling.
Blitz the tofu and cream cheese in a food processor, then taste and add any flavourings you desire. Other ideas can involve; lemon/lime zest, berries, grated ginger and melted white chocolate, mint essence, orange zest and cocoa, Dulce de Luce (banoffee!)
When your happy with the flavour, scoop the mix into the tins and leave again to set for around 4 hours in the fridge (or 1 hour in the freezer if your low on time). When you’re ready to serve, push the removal bottom of the tin up, use a palette knife to etch the biscuit base away, and plate up with whatever decoration you desire! I also presented one of mine in an individual drink glass, which I think looked even prettier as you can see all the colours layered up.
Brick pizza is renowned for being one of, if not THE best place for pizza in Norwich; and it isn’t hard to see why. They do pizzas, just pizzas, and they do them properly. The place itself is tiny, seating no more than 24 people with a rustic vibe yet incredibly clean and bright, they have ingredients splayed everything, with massive tones of tomatoes almost as decoration, and a chilled vibe that is a pleasure to eat in.
The vegan pizza (£10) comes with violife cheese, roasted vegetables (courgettes, aubergine, peppers) and basil on a tomato base. As someone who is used to ordering pizzas without the cheese for the last year, I find the vegan cheese almost too cheesy, but for someone who loves pizza like that (which is probably most) it’s absolutely perfect. I also loved the variation of vegetables, which were soft but still had a good texture from the courgette edges and few bits of celery (don’t let that put you off if you are not a huge celery fan, it was hardly any). If anything, I could have done with more basil but again that’s personal preference. They also do a plain pizza with tomato and oregano which I’ve also had and loved (but I would say is less filling than the others, as you would probably expect). The bases are all thin, crispy, but still have amazing texture. Because of this, they also take hardly any time to cook and we were served within 15 minutes.
They do also do a small amount of side dishes; dough bowls (as above), side salad, and olives. The dough balls were AMAZING. They come with garlic butter or Nutella, but omit this and they are thick, fluffy, vegan bites of heaven. I also think it’s nice to have these as the pizzas are so thin, and sometimes you just want that chunk of carbs. For £5 they are definitely great value for money, better than pizza express (yep I said it) and we shared between 4 – although I could probably eat a whole one to myself.
Undoubtedly this is becoming one of my favourite places to eat in the city.
Vegans, especially on social media, have a reputation for living off green smoothies with maca powder, avocado roses on organism five seed rye bread and using only pink salt from the valleys of Himalayan. These sort of things are expensive, time consuming and makes eating healthy or meat free unappealing (and unrealistic) to a lot of people. So this is a quick collection of my favourite ‘normal’, every day vegan Instagram accounts that are worth a follow.