“Excuse me waiter, is there a cockroach in my soup? If not, then bring some out, sharpish!”
Yes, it turns out that there are times when you really do want creepy crawlies in your carrots, and that’s when you’re embracing the protein-rich goodness of insects, bugs and larvae. And what’s better, you can find plenty of them in London without lifting up your decking, at these restaurants…
Greyhound Café, named not after the working man’s favourite racing after pigeon, nor to honour the low-cost inter-state American bus network, but rather to somehow sum up the very essence of Bangkok. Ladyboy Café simply wouldn’t cut it. Eating Actual Bugs Café might, though. Order the Bugs in My Salad salad and along with a collection of leaves, you will receive a bowl of the creatures actually designed to eat leaves. The salad is made up of mixed greens, served with soya wasabi dressing and, wait for it… high-protein fried Thai pupae.
Where: 37 Berners St, Fitzrovia, W1T 3LZ
Holy moly, check out this guacamole! It’s only covered in, you guessed it, grasshoppers. Southwark’s Santo Remedio serve an authentic take on chips and guac, with grasshoppers sourced directly from Mexico sticking out. The dish is a classic back in Oaxaca.
Where: 152 Tooley Street, Borough, SE1 2TU
What does guacamole and grasshopper actually taste like, I asked a colleague? ‘It’s a bit like eating crisps’, she replied ‘but not like a Wostit, but more of a Dorrito’. I’m sure this is exactly the sort of review that Michelin starred head chef Martha Ortiz was looking for. The dish, served with fresh cheese, pomegranate and gold grasshopper certainly looks beautiful.
Where: 1 Hamilton Place, Park Lane, Mayfair, W1J 7QY
Malang Tod consists of ‘deep fried bugs’, courtesy of Lao Café. The bugs change seasonally, presumably based on what’s behind the chef’s fridge on any particular day, but the result is reportedly incredibly tasty. As, indeed, is everything from this Laotian Covent restaurant.
Where: 60 Chandos Place, Covent Garden, WC2N 4HG
Not one but two bug-based dishes at Archipelago, in the form of ‘Summer Nights’, made of pan-fried chermoula crickets, quinoa, spinach and dried fruit. Or, to really get you buzzing, tick into a Mediaeval Hive, a pudding consisting of brown butter ice cream, honey and butter caramel sauce, oh and a baby bee.
Where: 53 Cleveland Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 4JJ