This British restaurant serves nutritious food and cocktails made out of insects and people are loving it!
If you're looking for a dining experience like never before, look no further. Known as Eat Grub, this eating nook is London's first pop-up insect bar that comes to life once every month in the popular Highbury district, in London. The meals served here include some mouthwatering delicacies made of grasshoppers, crickets and other creepy-crawlies that the founders have incorporated in their cocktails, meals, desserts and everything else in between.
"We think that actually insects can be easily incorporated into people’s daily lives. Instead of having nuts or crisps while watching football, you can have some roasted crickets,” one-half of Eat Grub and founder Shami Radia, revealed in an interview with Barcroft TV.
The idea behind Eat Grub was to make not only diners but chefs and retailers to not let the in-built disgust to take over taste buds and enjoy a wholesome insect-based meal that is packed with nutrition and can be consumed without fear.
Neil Whippey, insect food, drink maker and the other half of Eat Grub, elaborated: “The idea is to give attendees a fantastic experience, not just educate them about the nutritional benefits. We want to show how insects can be used in Western cuisines and change people’s perceptions. It is just Western societies that don’t eat insects — in most areas of the world they are considered an absolute delicacy.”
From mealworm canapés, bug ice-cream to chocolate brownies made out of cricket flour, Radia along with co-founder Neil and Chef Seb Holmes have created an unusual five-course meal that combines insects with Thai-cuisine influences for diners to enjoy.
The idea for the pop-up struck the two after Whippey and Radia were discussing eating bugs and began researching the nutritional factors of eating insects and how to farm them. After trying to make a few dishes on their own, they got in touch with their chefs and started the critter-based meal experience for all.
Whippey introduces diners to the five-course-meal that they can expect to have here: "It begins with a snack, Pandan Crickets, which is like nutty, salt and pepper crickets basically," the chef told Barcroft. "Then we go for a cricket flour Miang (Kham, a Thai snack) with fresh ginger, peanuts, coconut, served in a betel leaf. Then we have a play on tempura shrimps and tempura grasshoppers. After that, we go for a crispy vermicelli salad with buffalo worms.
"Served alongside is a som tam salad, which is a green papaya salad made fresh in a pestle and mortar; we just use crispy roast crickets rather than shrimps like you would traditionally. Then to finish off we do a grasshopper praline ice cream.”
At Eat Grub, great emphasis is laid on the nutrition value and wholesome consumption of insects that are used for cooking meals. And Whippey wants other people to try it out for themselves.
“Buffalo worm has a complex fishy flavor and the cricket is like a nutty shrimp and is related to shellfish, so the flavor fits perfectly.”
Other than the five-course meal, guests can also get their hands on the energy bars, brownies, cookies, and crisps that are made from a powder of roasted and ground crickets. The gin and vodka cocktails are made with “nutty bitter” infusions created by leaving crickets soaked in alcohol.
For the owners, the idea was to create novelty with their food that isn't devoid of soul. As Whippey puts it, the environmental benefits are many and the nutritive value significant compared to traditional foodstuffs.
"A cow consumes 12.5 times more food and 35 times more water than crickets to produce the same amount of protein." Radia added: “Insects are actually a sustainable source of protein. Crickets are 67 percent protein, really high in things like iron, calcium, zinc — they have the complete nutritional profile, the original superfood."
Eat Grub operates on the last Sunday of every month and if you're convinced to try it out after reading this? Book your tickets for a table at Eat Grub's next pop-up on the 24th of September at Farang, 72 Highbury Park, Highbury East, London.