Giggling Squid is a chain of Thai restaurants located in affluent market towns. There are 20 restaurants and counting but it certainly doesn’t feel like a soulless corporate entity. Perhaps it’s because the story of their beginnings is a humble and endearing one. Andy and Pranee Laurillard came up with the concept of Thai Tapas Sets and opened their first restaurant in Brighton back in 2002. And if you’re wondering where the quirky name came from, it’s the nickname of one of their children.
It was only a matter of time before Giggling Squid came to the historic town of Bury St Edmunds and it’s a perfect fit. It has become massively popular so be sure to book.
The décor is simply stunning. Muted colours, gorgeous lighting and layered textures create a relaxing and welcoming ambience, complemented by friendly and helpful service.
Paulo and I popped in for dinner, so we missed their famous lunch time tapas (this will soon be corrected with a return visit). The evening menu was filled with tantalising dishes, some of them quite original, others more traditional but all reflecting their ethos of simple, rustic, fresh Thai food.
Pies are a big deal in the UK so it’s no wonder we hold British Pie Week every March to celebrate our love of the humble pie. Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa in Newmarket got in on the celebrations and invited me and Paulo to try out their British Pie Weekend menu at Squires Restaurant.
This 2 AA Rosette restaurant, with Executive Head Chef Sean Melville at the helm, provides a modern dining experience in beautiful surroundings. The restaurant prides itself on sourcing their produce locally whenever possible, and their suppliers are all within a 50-mile radius.
We were greeted warmly by restaurant manager Manfred Seibert and shown to a cosy table in the corner with comfy armchairs. The excellent service continued throughout the meal.
We ordered drinks while we perused the three-course pie menu: Adnams Ghost Ship pale ale for Paulo and a glass of Prosecco for me.
Casa Del Mar is a delightful Mediterranean restaurant located in the centre of Bury St Edmunds. Once known as Café Del Mar, the name change reflects the fact that it’s more than just a café, and rightly so. The menu includes an impressive selection of dishes, including Spanish, Greek, Italian and Moroccan. Owned by the vivacious and talented Maria Broadbent, Casa Del Mar’s ambience is cosy and inviting with friendly and attentive service throughout.
We went to Bury St Edmunds to see a concert at The Apex and were looking for a place to eat nearby that could accommodate the four of us for an early dinner, as the show started at 7:30pm on the dot. The thought of having to resort to a boring chain restaurant wasn’t too appealing so a quick tweet revealed Casa Del Mar as a recommendation. Our friends Peter and Jenni had just returned from a trip to Italy so they were thrilled with the choice, plus it was only a 5-minute walk to the venue. Perfect.
A few weeks ago, Paulo and I decided to visit Jimmy’s Farm in Wherstead on our way back to Cambridge from Ipswich. We had lunch at the restaurant and it definitely exceeded our expectations.
Even though the restaurant itself is impressive (it’s located in a beautiful converted barn), I expected the food to be basic and decent fare with lots of fresh ingredients, especially pork. It was indeed all of this, but I noticed that there was a real expertise in the presentation and flavours of the dishes.
The Salthouse Eaterie is the restaurant at The Salthouse Harbour Hotel, which is ideally located at Neptune Quay on the Ipswich Marina in Suffolk. Paulo and I were looking for a night away at a luxury hotel that offers fine dining and the Salthouse Harbour Hotel delivered on both counts.
We hadn’t been to Ipswich before and the waterfront, although still under development, was a pleasant and relaxing place to visit. The Salthouse Harbour Hotel is a beautiful Victorian building featuring arched windows and iron columns. It was originally a merchants warehouse and was refurbished to a high standard over 10 years ago. The Salthouse Eaterie overlooks the harbour.