UK's first insect restaurant opening this summer

By Sophie Witts

- Last updated on GMT

Bug burgers feature on the menu at Grub Kitchen
Bug burgers feature on the menu at Grub Kitchen

Related tags Eating Food Uk

The UK’s first restaurant serving insects will open in South Wales this summer.

The menu at Grub Kitchen is based on the principle of entomophagy (the human consumption of insects), and replaces the protein in staple foods with insects.

Dishes include the bug burger, cricket kofta kebabs, bug burritos, and Mexican red chapuline grasshoppers.

The restaurant is the brainchild of Andrew Holcroft, former head chef at Cwtch Restaurant in St Davids, Pembrokeshire, and winner of Good Food Guide’s Best Family Restaurant award.

He told BigHospitality: “As a chef you are always looking for ways to be creative and do something different. A few years ago I started getting interested in bugs and doing a lot of research about the benefits of eating them, as they are a good source of sustainable protein.

"We’ve found that we can ground crickets up to make flour, which can be used in baking. We’ve also created cricket crepes served with bamboo worm fudge ice cream."

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation around two billion people eat insects as part of their normal diet, and about 2000 species have been identified as edible.

Holcroft said: “In the west we think the only way you can eat insects is through Bushtucker Trials, but it is actually a very normal thing to do."

Grub ran a number of pop up stalls in 2014 to test the market, which met with a positive response.

Holcroft said: “Ninety-nine per cent of people trying the bugs love them. Not everyone will like everything, but generally once people try things they realise that the flavours are not that different to other foods.”

The main idea behind Grub Kitchen is education, and there are plans to take the bug grub to schools and festivals later this year to broaden the conversation about food and the sustainability of our diet.

Holcroft hopes that as people become better educated about the concept, insects could become part of the mainstream food diet within “roughly the next 10 to 15 years."

He is also talking with scientists about the feasibility of breeding insects for human consumption.

Though this area of farming remains a grey area of UK law, it is already practiced in the Netherlands.

Pop up restaurants serving insects have become increasingly common in the UK since Rentokil launched London’s first pop up ‘Pestaurant’ in 2013.

Mexican street food chain Wahaca have been selling some 1500 plates a week of a cricket based dish since January 2015, and are now considering it as a permanent addition to their restaurant menu.

Grub Kitchen will operate at Dr Beynon’s Bug Farm, run by Holcrofts Entomologist partner Dr Sarah Beynon, in the town of Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire, South Wales.

The farm will run tasting events and cooking demonstrations designed to raise awareness around the environmental and health benefits of entomophagy later this summer.

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