A THAI restaurant is coming to Henley.
The Giggling Squid will open at the former Brasserie Gérard premises in Hart Street on November 6.
The 80-seat restaurant is the fifth in a chain run by Andy and Pranee Laurillard, who are also planning to move to the town with their three children, Xavier, seven, Jasmina, five and Henry, four.
The couple currently live near Hove in East Sussex, where they opened their first restaurant in 2009.
Mr Laurillard, a former company marketing director, said: “My best mate lives in Marlow so I know the area quite well. We took the kids up to have a look at the restaurant, stayed in Hurley and had a nice look round the area to make sure it’s what we want to do. It’s a lovely part of the world.
“I’m really excited about opening a restaurant in Henley. I think there is a real opportunity for us and I think that the local people will really enjoy our food.”
Mrs Laurillard, who was brought up in Thailand, added: “We’ve fallen in love with Henley and from a logistical point of view, with plans to extend the business north round the M25 and west along the M4, it also makes sense to be located here.
The other Giggling Squid restaurants are in Brighton, Crawley and Tunbridge Wells and a sixth is to open in Reigate.
The owners decided to open a restaurant after Mrs Laurillard finished her masters degree in business and marketing and decided she wanted to do something creative.
Mr Laurillard continued to work full-time, commuting seven hours a day while the business expanded.
The couple hope to open at 50 sites over the next five years. Mrs Laurillard, who was taught to cook by her mother and worked in the kitchen of the first restaurant, said: “There are no national Thai restaurants chains despite the increasing popularity of the food, so we are hoping to the be first.
“We have a long way to go to get there, although we are enjoying every minute. It’s all about getting the food right.”
The food is prepared by master Thai chefs using fresh ingredients, which are sourced locally when possible.
Mr Laurillard said: “Keeping control of the quality of the food is not easy and we will have to see how far we can get. I think we can certainly have 10 to 12 sites.”
The Henley restaurant’s lunch menu will offer a choice of six tapas-style “tasting sets”. The evening menu will be more extensive with about 40 dishes, including the signature “giggling squid” — a steamed baby squid filled with minced chicken, squid, basil and chilli.