We don’t normally go out for Sunday lunch. I’m a bit of a tight wad, and can’t bear the idea of spending money on something I feel I can do perfectly well myself. Roast chicken, gravy and stuffing from scratch…not a bother. Even C is getting the hang of making mashed potatoes (under supervision!), its really not that tricky. So when we do occasionally venture out to eat I want something special, a little bit different and out of the ordinary.
Recently I spotted an offer from the Grub Kitchen that I couldn’t resist- Sunday lunch cooked by Andy Holcroft, with a free bug handling session after. Amazing! Two of my favourite things in the whole world- good food and getting up close and personal with weird and wonderful creatures. Count me in!
Slight issue- I had to convince F. ‘Do I have to eat bugs?’ Came the inevitable question. ‘ No dear, you can be quite boring…I mean safe, there are lots of none entomological options on the menu.’ C was quite excited at the chance to go back to the ‘bug zoo’, mainly so as she could run free in the play barn.
I wasn’t lying to F (for a change)-Andy’s Sunday lunch menu is full of ‘traditional’ favourites such as roast leg of lamb or roast beef. The main focus of the restaurant is entomophagy (eating insects) so there are insect based options, such as ‘bug wellington’ if you are feeling more adventurous.
When we got to the bug farm we were greeted by the two Sarah’s- Dr Beynon herself, and her assistant Sarah. Not confusing at all! Bug handling would be at two so we had plenty of time to stuff ourselves with good food!
First up- drinks. I’m not picky about many things, I like to think I’m fairly easy going, but for goodness sake please don’t mess with my coffee! Grub Kitchen coffee is divine. Beautifully presented, delicious and aromatic. Perfection!
The restaurant itself is situated within a converted 18th century calf shed. This makes for an interesting dining experience- the tables are arranged alongside the original stone trough. Once upon a time the kitchen was actually a pig sty, the pantry was a water tank. Innovative and environmentally friendly, it provides a perfect backdrop for a relaxed sunday lunch.
Whilst waiting for our food to arrive we had time for a quick run around in the play barn, which makes the eating here exceptionally family friendly. Screaming toddler meltdown on the horizon?? No problem, pop through the door at the end of the restaurant and you’re in a large undercover play area, complete with insect related play materials. Quick game of football or a trip along the balance beams and back in time to eat!
The waitress brought out the mini farmers food first- another tick in my book as I find it easier if the kids can start eating as soon as possible! Yummy handmade bangers and chips, which the girls hovered up! I couldn’t help sneaking a chip for myself-they were really something, full of flavour and crunch.
Then came our plates- pan roasted Towy valley venison for me and very locally sourced beef for F.
‘I’ll just get the veg’ said the waitress
Within seconds the table was full of an array of stunning side dishes-root veg mash, dauphinois potatoes, red cabbage and kalettes. These were a new veg for me- a cross between curly kale and sprouts. Everything was delicious, with melt in your mouth meat and the vegetables cooked to perfection. The flavours of the accompanying sauces and subtle seasoning matched each dish and brought out the best of the ingredients. The meal really did showcase some of Pembrokeshire’s best produce.
Round Two- pudding. F had been eyeing up a ginormous duck egg Victoria sponge, whilst I took my first tentative (and slightly cowardly) steps into the world of entomophagy. Cricket cookie.
Looks like a regular cookie.
I sniffed it.
Smells like a regular cookie.
Yum! Tastes like peanut butter cookie. No hardship in eating this. If all bugs taste this good, bring it on! Even C had a little bit to try, although I didn’t tell her what was in it. She just saw me chowing down and thought it was therefore fair game for her!
C and Jo Jo had ice cream with a twist! No bugs, just a pretty teacup and lots of chocolate sprinkles!
Eating bugs- tick.
Bellies full it was time to go handle some ‘bugs’. C took a front row seat, ready for whatever Dr Beynon had to offer. First up, a cockroach. A giant hissing cockroach to be precise. I think he was called Dave, but then my memory is crap and I tend to call all creatures Dave anyway. This little dude was awesome.
C enjoyed counting his legs (6) and informing us that he felt ‘smooth and hard’. The bug handling session was great- no pressure to hold anything you weren’t comfortable with, lots of interesting insect related facts and genuinely good fun. It was lovely to watch C and JoJo interacting with Sarah and her ‘bugs’, and learning that insects, although they might be creepy and crawly, certainly don’t have to be scary or icky or yucky or any of the other preconceived notions that are passed on to us as children from the adults around us.
If you are looking for somewhere for Sunday lunch, or a unique weekday dining treat then definitely head over to sample some of the dishes at Grub Kitchen.You can enjoy a wonderful meal, in atmospheric surroundings, cooked and served by lovely and talented people. Best of all the food is local, ethically sourced and sustainable, so not only are you eating well but also doing something good for the environment too.