VEGAN THAI @ GIGGLING SQUID NORWICH // Out

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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.

frontGiggling 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.curry

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.

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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. hanging basketsriver

A near by river also is also lovely for a pre or post dinner walk around.cocktails

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!cande

While there are actually nearly 30 Giggling Squids across the country, the  building’s design felt unique, niche and like an independent restaurant.bicycles

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.

 

VEGAN ZIZZIS // Eating Out

Zizzis has long been known as one of the best chain restaurants for vegans. They’ve always been really accomadating to change their dishes, it recently they’ve added even more vegan dishes to their menu, and if you ask they will give you a seperate menu with just vegan option. I find this so much easier to look at rather than searching for the ‘V’ sign next to everything! They also have loads of options that they don’t mention on their main menu; vegan garlic bread; bruschetta; lentil ragu side; 2 proper desserts (not just fruit salad and sorbet!) and much more.

 

Starter of bruschetta with super green pesto, cherry tomatoes and basil. The pesto is the best vegan pesto I’ve had, and I love adding some extra chilli oil which they have on every table to add even more flavour.
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The new vegan pizza just for January – vegan cheese, avocado slices, beetroot falafel things, sundried tomatoes, spinach and chilli flakes.

They also have three other vegan pizzas, and an array of toppings (my favourites are olives and grilled peppers) so you can create your perfect pizza! They same goes for their pasta; starting with a basic spaghetti, tomato sauces, basil and fresh cherry tomatoes (which is delicious all in itself btw), you can then add anything else you wish.

This is the ‘super Zucca salad’ that isn’t actually on the vegan menu (as it contains goats cheese), but we swapped this for the vegan cheese. INot every restaurant may be as accommodating to do this as the cheese is frozen, but we adding field mushrooms (from the pasta add ons) which are cooked, so the cheese melted slightly with that and it was just perfect. The salad itself consists of courgette, roast butternut squash, a tiny hint of mint, green lentils and mixed leaves which I’ve had before so know I love. It also normally comes with a white balsamic dressing, which they swapped for balsamic.

Zizzis also offered another vegan salad, with broccoli, cannelloni beans, purple basil and pesto.

The lentil ragu which normally comes with pasta, but I switched to fried potatoes cause I was on a bit of potato obsession at the time. The ragu has a really rich flavour and cooked perfectly, not to ‘mushy’ which I find often puts people off these legumes (which are a fab source of protein as well!)


One of the highlights of eating vegan at Zizzis has to be the sweet stuff; dessert calzone filled with banana, blueberries, and topped with a coconut chocolate ripple ice cream. If like me you just love anything bread and carby, this will be a winner.  I also loved getting some of the warm banana and adding it to the chocolate torte as chocolate banana isnsuch a good combo. We also ordered a chocolate torte with vegan honeycomb (!!) and topped with ice cream. The coconut flavour really came through in the ice cream, and it was perfect with the torte as it was incredibly rich (imagine a creamy, thick ganache which I have no idea how they made taste so good without lashings of cream).

Going halves on two dishes is my favourite way to eat, so you get to try a bit of everything!

Zizzis also does an amazing 40% off student discount! Starters are around £5, mains just over a tenner, and desserts about £6. In my opinion, the only thing that stops this place being absolutely perfect is the drinks; I;ve tried the ‘bramble g&t’ which for over £6 barely tasted of gin, and the white wine I had this visit was okay, but slightly underwhelming at nearly £5 for 175ml.

Overall, Zizzis is still one of, if not my absolute favourite places to eat out (with other vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters alike).