HAVING lived exclusively on simple street food during a hazy, lost month in Bangkok a few years back, I was more than a little excited to try the rustic titbits at Marlow’s newest eatery, The Giggling Squid, which claims to bring the flavours of the Thai streets to Marlow.

Already a hit in Henley, this small chain has built up a loyal following in the south east and its eighth incarnation in West Street further vindicates the choice of those already in the know, delivering flavoursome, well-presented rustic Thai dishes at a decent price.

Arriving on the ‘VIP’ opening night, my girlfriend Tori and I were a little disappointed not to be given the run of the full menu, instead having to choose from a limited complimentary range to showcase Giggling Squid’s talents.

However, the small but well-balanced selection at least made the choice a little easier, and gave us more time to take in the excellent job the team have done on the restaurant’s interior.

It is clear the £300,000 spent in the overhaul has been put to good use, transforming the former Pachanga Mexican eatery into a clean, modern and elegant space.

The exposed brickwork and distressed wood effects echo the philosophy of Giggling Squid’s cooking style - simple, rustic and fresh, and the flash of purple from the serviettes finishes the job perfectly.

For starter, I opted for the pork dumplings (£6.25), which were steamed just right and came with a rice vinegar dip so deliciously moreish I wanted to bottle it to take home.

Tori, a pescatarian, went with the Salt and Pepper Squid (£6.95) which must be a popular option at a restaurant named after the submarine creature.

The batter was sublime, with the extra chilli adding the necessary kick, but the fried squid pieces would have benefitted from a shake more salt and pepper for our liking.

For main, I ordered the Massaman Chicken Curry (£9.50) without hesitation, it being one of my all-time favourite dishes with strong Indian influences.

The small, lidded cast-iron pot it arrived in was delightful, and reinforced the home-cooked feel the restaurant’s owners are keen to promote.

The sauce was packed full of flavour with a lingering sweetness, and the cashew nuts provided a welcome added texture.

However, the chicken tasted a little overdone, but having probably been prepared in great quantity for the limited launch night menu, it can be forgiven this time around. Tori’s Prawn Green Curry (£9.95) was everything a green curry should be - spicy, rich and sweet, and the prawns were some of the juiciest I’ve tasted outside of the Far East.

The rice (£2.95) was fluffy and ever-so slightly sticky, just how I like it and the portions are certainly on the right side of generous. However, it is the ‘Thai Tapas’ lunch menu I was most keen to sample, with the ‘lunch-box’ concept of small Thai street food morsels offering something truly new for the lunching Marlow diner.

With a range of sets priced from £8, the mix-and-match approach most associated with the Spanish should prove popular, and I will certainly be making a special journey to Marlow to try it. Giggling Squid gets most things right, proving it is capable of serving up solid Thai classics with a homemade feel. And if it can juggle the full dinner service alongside its intriguing lunch-time set up, it will nestle itself nicely onto the Marlow scene and leave customers smiling and satisfied, if not giggling with delight.

Go to www.gigglingsquid.com for more details.