The Norwich restaurant with insects on the menu

PUBLISHED: 16:19 04 November 2016 | UPDATED: 10:42 05 November 2016

Woolf & Social, 21-23 Nelson Street, Norwich. Photo: Woolf & Social.

Woolf & Social, 21-23 Nelson Street, Norwich. Photo: Woolf & Social.


A restaurant in Norwich is making a name for itself in the fine city because of the unique ingredients included on their menu.

You’d be forgiven for thinking you were on an episode of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here when trying certain dishes on the menu at Woolf and Social.

The restaurant on Nelson Street in Norwich, prides itself on doing things a little differently, from their laid back social dining style with small sharing plates, to their progressive cookery, which has seen flying termites and black ants added to the menu.

However these specialities aren’t part of a secret Bushtucker trial and you won’t need to dare your dining companions to try them according to the restaurant’s co-owner and head chef, Francis Woolf.

The 31-year-old said: “Insects have been used in cooking, in various establishments, for the last four years or so, however we are one of only a small handful of restaurants that currently serve them in the UK.

“At the moment we use freeze-dried flying termites and black ants as a form of seasoning on a few of our dishes. The termites taste like walnuts, while the ants have a strong BBQ and citrus flavour about them, they taste amazing and can really help to lift a dish.”

Mr Woolf and his business partner Felix Rehberg, who have been friends for 15 years, decided to take the plunge and open their own restaurant in December 2015 after Mr Woolf moved back to Norwich.

The creative chef, who is also known locally for his street food stall Woolf & Bird, first tried insects while working with Blanch and Shock in London, where he met a chef from the Nordic Food Lab who introduced him to Norwegian Wood Ants.

“As soon as I tried them, I knew I wanted to have ants on my menu one day, so when we opened Woolf & Social I got some in and started experimenting with dishes. So far customers have been really intrigued by it all, wanting to try them and find out how they are prepared,” Mr Woolf said.

He added: “Once you get past the idea and realise it’s valid in a gastronomical way, you understand and you’re happy to just go for it. It’s a bit like the way we think of lesser used cuts of meat, such as tripe, people don’t traditionally want to eat it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t taste great.”

• Would you eat insects? Let us know in the comments below.

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