SA’s first all-insect restaurant creates a buzz

They first founded Gourmet Grubb, a local company that was the first in the world to create ice cream made from insect larvae, and now they are back with an all-insect restaurant, The Insect Experience.

We spoke to Leah Bessa of Gourmet Grubb, who is part of the creative force behind The Insect Experience, on what the restaurant offers, and how it came about. 

Bessa said The Insect Experience is a concept store with a tasting menu for consumers to try dishes that have insects in them, in one form or another.

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The Insect Experience. Supplied

“We want it to be a comfortable space to come and try insects, and have the option of buying some insects to take home and try to cook themselves. We have a variety of insect dishes and different insects on the menu, and it allows people to come and see what they are all about and how different they are and how they can be used.” 

“We have True Food with their Mopane based products, Insektivore with their mealworm based products, Ensekta with their silkworm covered chocolate and Mane South Africa who has been supportive of the concept store, and it’s development. 

"This store front caters for everyone, as we have included a variety of different dish options where the insects are not visually seen (in a powdered format), and some, where they can be seen on the plate, and this allows people with varying degrees of aversion to try and enjoy the dishes,” said Bessa.

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The Insect Experience. Supplied

She said together with Chef Mario Barnard they had created a menu that showcased the flavour of the various insects as well as their potential applications, and that the dishes all demonstrated the culinary aspects of insects. 

Bessa said the popular items on the menu were the mopane fries and the black soldier fly larvae croquettes, followed closely by the insect ice cream for dessert.  

The Insect Experience is situated at the GOODFood food hall, at 242 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock, Cape Town, and is open weekdays from 11am until 8pm and Saturdays from 11am until 9pm.

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