Bug burritos and cricket cocktails can all be found on the menu at Britain's first insect restaurant, Grub Kitchen which opens its 18th century doors in Wales this week.
Located on a farm inside a renovated calf shed in deepest Pembrokeshire, South Wales, the unusual venture will have an insect focused menu in a bid to 'make people think about their food' pioneering Chef Andy Holcroft told The Independent.
“I’ve always been really interested in trying to do something different with food,” the award winning chef went on to say, and it looks like he has put his money where his mouth is. A keen advocate of entomophagy (eating insects) this is not the first venture into this realm but the award winning chef is confident it is one it will be a step to 'normalising' the practice.
Holcroft is upbeat about the insect idea which should definitely capture the imagination of children. "Kids love the edible insects – they don’t have that fear factor,” he said. Insects on the menu include crickets, mealworms, grasshoppers, sago worms and locusts worked into a number of dishes.
Grub Kitchen's signature burger is made with toasted crickets, mealworms, grasshoppers, spinach and sundried tomatoes.
A photo posted by Andy Holcroft (@grub_kitchen) on Mar 30, 2015 at 3:18am PDT
Whilst the menu focuses on insects the core philosophy of the restaurant is innovative and sustainable local food and classic and modern cookery.
Some Menu Higlights include:
Insect tasting board featuring a selection of plain and seasoned insect treats
Chilli cricket cocktail with bloody Mary salsa and lemon chapuline salt
Caerfai cheddar, tomato, Grub farmhouse pickle, fresh leaves and herb salsa
Grub garden salad of local organic leaves, tomatoes and herbs with crunchy insect granola, goat’s cheese and balsamic jelly
Cricket falafels with tatziki, olives, lettuce and Caerfai cheddar
Bug blinis with wild garlic humus and toasted cumin mealworms
Bug burritos; lemon and coriander bulgar wheat, spicy beans and chilli-con crickets with chilli chapuline and tomato salsa, sour cream and sago worm guacamole
Sago, and bamboo worm pad Thai curry
A photo posted by Andy Holcroft (@grub_kitchen) on Mar 30, 2015 at 8:12am PDT
Mr Holcroft’s cricket cookies even won Women’s Institute members’ seal of approval.
A photo posted by Andy Holcroft (@grub_kitchen) on May 21, 2015 at 6:45am PDT
Where do the insects come from?
Most of the insects will be sourced from laboratories within Europe but Holcroft is confident he will be able to start breeding his own supply by next year. Holcroft's partner is fortunately an insect enthusiast and they have existing space and expertise to make it happen.
What do they taste like?
Grub Kitchen's website has prempted this question and banding descriptors around like 'smokey bacon' we're all ears.
"The unseasoned insects generally taste quite like bran, tea or even grassy cereals. Cooked, insects carry flavour and seasoning really well, but unseasoned can vary between toasted nuts, creamy avocado or even smokey bacon. "
Whilst insects look sure to capture peoples imaginations they are perhaps not for all “I wouldn’t expect everyone to like them, in the same way I wouldn’t expect everyone to like fish or mushrooms or pork” Holfcroft goes on to tell The Independent.
If you're brave enough to try a scoop of worm fudge ice-cream, pull up a pew at:
Lower Harglodd Farm, St Davids, Pembs, SA62 6BX, Wales, UK
This is not the first venture into the edible insects revolution. We’ve covered the rising trend of eating insects amongst French chefs the endorsement by the UN Nations as well as the likes of top chefs in the world like Rene Redzepi serving up insects. Click on the links to find out more.