Edible insects may not be a new concept in some parts of the world, but here the restaurant elite are touting them as a sustainable source of protein. Noma in Copenhagen led the way with its beef tartare with ants, and in London, Archipelago took its ‘assault on the senses’ to new levels by serving up chocolate covered scorpions alongside other exotic dishes such as frogs legs and drone bees.
Over in South West Wales, the UK’s first ‘insect’ restaurant opened in the form of Grub Kitchen. From a bug pick ‘n’ mix starter to bug burger main, this was the first restaurant in Britain to fully focus on insect produce.
The question on everyone’s lips was ‘will anyone order them?’ and the answer has been a resounding yes! The restaurant is proving popular with visitors from both home and abroad, with some diners travelling from as far as Holland to sample its menu.
Whilst insects are one way to jump on this trend, seaweed has also proved popular.
Heralded by leading chefs for its velvety texture and the fact it can be locally harvested, restaurants such as Dabbous in London have featured seaweed in the guise of sea lettuce, wakame and kelp on menus. Testament to the trickle-down effect from chefs to consumers, Mara Seaweed, which supplies Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Whole Foods, launched in the US following rapid UK growth.
Having said this, we’re not so sure that scorpions and seaweed will replace steak and a salad any time soon – although we’re happy to be proved wrong!