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St Davids: Britain’s first insect restaurant will be in Pembrokeshire

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Grub Kitchen’s signature: Bug burger (Pic:  Andy Holcroft)

Grub Kitchen’s signature: Bug burger (Pic: Andy Holcroft)

THE UK’S first insect restaurant, is due to open its doors next week and the head chef is confident diners will “love” his bug-laden dishes.

The biggest surprise for The Herald was that this brand new culinary experience will be right on our doorstep in St. Davids.

Owner Andy Holcroft said: “I’ve always been really interested in trying to do something different with food. I want to make people think about what they are eating.”

The award-winning chef is a passionate advocate of  ‘entomophagy’ –  the eating of insects.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation at the United Nations at least two billion people worldwide already do so, with about 1,900 species commonly consumed, .

Eating insects for protein is increasingly popular in other EU countries such as the Netherlands, and Mr Holcroft believes his restaurant will be a step towards normalising it here.

He has conducted extensive market research to finesse his menu. “The first dish I created was a mealworm and cricket kofte kebab,” he said. He  subsequently developed the restaurant’s signature bug burger – a blend of toasted crickets, mealworms and grasshoppers, mixed with spinach, sundried tomato and seasonings – and experimented with more exotic nibbles, from cheesy locust croquettes to bamboo worm pad Thai curry.

For diners with a sweet tooth, desserts include cricket crepes with bamboo worm fudge ice cream, and  treacle tart with bug brittle and hedgerow compote. Mr  Holcroft’s cricket cookies  even won Women’s Institute members’ seal of approval.

“Kids love the edible insects – they don’t have that fear factor,” he said. “I wouldn’t expect everyone to like them, in the same way I wouldn’t expect everyone to like fish or mushrooms or pork.”

There is no current UK law on how to breed insects for human consumption. The  critters served at Grub Kitchen are bred in laboratories and imported from a  variety of European firms, but Mr Holcroft is in talks with the Food Standards Agency and hopes to be breeding his own supply by next year.

Mealworms have a pleasantly “branny” texture, while crickets could be compared to puffed rice, he said. Weight for weight, crickets can contain more protein than beef and can nourish humans up to 25 times more efficiently, as “the exoskeleton breaks down very easily when you chew it”.

Grub Kitchen’s menu

  • 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 cheddarBug 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
  • Cricket crepes with bamboo worm fudge ice cream
  • Carrot, cricket and cardamom sponge cake with caramelised crickets and lemon crème fraiche
  • Treacle tart with bug brittle and hedgerow compote
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Fishguard RNLI launch to attend injured fisherman 13 miles offshore

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FISHGUARD’s RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat launched early on Monday (Jan 17), with a full volunteer crew, to rendezvous with an Irish scalloper fishing boat which had an injured crew member aboard. The 14-metre fishing boat ‘ Golden Fleece’ had requested assistance by making radio contact with HM Coastguard. 

The lifeboat launched at 7.30am in calm conditions and headed to the fishing boat positioned approximately 13 miles north of Cemaes Head. Once on location the injured fisherman, who had suffered a significant finger injury, was transferred to the lifeboat. No further medical assistance was necessary from the lifeboat crew but he was kept under observation during the return journey to Fishguard where he was transferred to an awaiting ambulance upon arrival at 8.30am.   

 

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Brains’ £100 million sell-off plan includes local pubs in Pembrokeshire

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SA BRAINs is close to completing a £100m deal which will see the sale of 100 Wales pubs, including Pembrokeshire locals, it has been reported.

It is reported that Wales most prominent brewers will sell the freeholds to 100 of it’s pubs to a consortium.

Brains currently has a portfolio of 200 pubs across Wales and the South West.

Sources within the pub industry said that the transaction could be signed in the next few days.

The deal is to be made with Song Capital and Cerberus Capital Management, the former owner of Admiral Taverns.

The deal, which is thought to be around the £100m mark, is expected to be used by the Brains’ family shareholders to pay down debt.

The hospitality sector has been hit severely by the Coronavirus pandemic, being forced to close for long periods at a time and then reopening with strict restrictions.

In 2020, Brains struck a deal with Marston’s to operate 141 of its pubs, under the Welsh brewers brand, following financial pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Six Pembrokeshire pubs are earmarked to be included in the transaction; The Ferry Inn, St Dogmaels, Crown Inn, Tenby, Grove Hotel, Narberth, Waterman’s Arms, Pembroke, Harbour Inn, Solva and The Galleon, Broad Haven.

The sale will see the Brains pub estate as a family-owned brewer with a small residual pub portfolio.

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Business

St Clears’ McDonald’s opening delayed for a week

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McDonald's sign

THE OPENING of the new 100-seater McDonald’s in St Clears has been delayed by a week. 

The restaurant, which will be built along the main approach road to Pembrokeshire, aimed to open its doors on Wednesday, January 19. 

However, the company has confirmed that the opening has been postponed until Wednesday, January 26. 

The new McDonald’s will join Haverfordwest and Pembroke Dock McDonald’s as the only members of the company located west of Carmarthen. 

It hoped to provide over 80 full and part time jobs due to being open around the clock. They hosted a recruitment day in December 2021. 

The original applications had previously stated that the McDonald’s would be open 24 hours a day. A premises licence application is currently being made to the County Council for the “provision of late-night refreshments” which, if accepted, would allow the restaurant to be open 24 hours a day.

It will open on the opposite side of the road to Travelodge and Starbucks, which replaced the Little Chef restaurant in 2017.

The restaurant was initially going to include a separate building which would have accommodated a Costa Coffee. However, it will now host a Greggs. 

Alongside this, planning permission has been granted separately for a petrol station with six electric charging points.

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