I didn’t expect a mostly Thai staff to greet me on arrival at the new Giggling Squid, but it was created by Pranee Laurillard, who is Thai, and her husband Andy – it clearly remains an authentic family affair.

Pranee says: “My husband and I sat in the basement of a tiny, tiny fisherman’s cottage (now our Brighton restaurant) way back in 2002 and pulled together our first Thai Tapas menu. Our idea was to cook simple, rustic, fresh Thai food. We wanted a menu that people could eat like they do at home. In Thailand, mealtimes are all about lots of dishes that everyone shares.

“We had no money, no idea what we were doing, a leaky roof, dodgy wiring and a pile of washing up to the ceiling but luckily the menu was a massive hit. Things have moved on a bit now but you can still eat our super popular Thai Tapas Sets for lunch.

“In the evenings we serve lots of original dishes, alongside more unusual Thai flavour combinations. We hope you enjoy Giggling Squid, and feel at home in our funny, quirky little restaurants - well some of them are not so little now, but our approach is still the same.”

I went along in the evening with my other half and began with a couple of cocktails. I chose the Thai gin and tonic with Kaffir lime leaf and ginger infused London dry gin topped with chilled tonic water (£6.95) and the flavours were amazing, with a little bit more of a kick than I am used to.

My partner chose the Thai Coconut, made up of gin and fresh coconut flavoured rum served with Fever Tree ginger ale and a squeeze of lime (£6.95). The flavour was much softer than mine, but also much sweeter so it needed to be.

To start we were a little greedy and shared three things: Tamarind prawns that are grilled and cooked in sweet Tamarind sauce finished with crispy ginger and onion (£7.75), Thai-style fish cakes which the menu informed us to be a popular local delicacy with the combination of spices and red curry giving it a hint of heat (£6.50), and finally one of their most famous offerings, the salt and pepper squid - lightly coated in flour then deep fried until it fluffs up (£7.25). They were delectably moreish but to the generous scattering of salt, ground black pepper, spring onion and sliced chilli.

So far, so deliciously fabulous.

I went on to have a main dish of a mild Massaman curry with prawns (£11.50). It is a slim style curry from Southern Thailand, it’s made with coconut milk and dry spices such as cumin, cinnamon and star anise. The flavours were gentle but wonderful and it paired perfectly with a side of coconut rice (£3.50).

My other half chose the sea bass pad cha (15.50) and was presented with a crispy fried sea bass fillet topped with aromatic spicy Thai herbs and sauce garnished with basil leaves, fresh green peppercorn, grachai, lime leaves. If you like the aroma of Thai herbs and spices you can’t go wrong with this – it was packed with flavour and cooked to perfection.

He then ordered a prawn pad thai “for the table” as the menu states, but this was rather a lot of food and left us with plenty to take home for lunch – partly because we made sure to save room for dessert.

Again we chose to share, going for the caramelised mango cake served with vanilla ice cream (£5.95). It wasn’t too heavy, but was decadently moist and the ice cream impressively rich.

Our other choice was the Prosecco and muddled berry cheesecake (£5.95) which was incredibly soft – bar with biscuit base, of course. Both were wonderful, the only other choice was a molten chocolate dessert which I might have to return to try.

The entire evening was a delight and the staff were magnificent. It is a beautifully designed setting to spend an evening, with feature chandeliers and floral displays to create an elegant atmosphere.

Giggling Squid, Amenbury Lane, Harpenden, AL5 2BT

T: 01582 461 210

W: gigglingsquid.com