MOST diners would find the idea of tucking into a squirrel stew a bit nuts.
But not French chef Bertie Lizeray, who is introducing a menu featuring the furry rodents, along with horse, frogs legs and springbok – all in the unlikely location of a Midlothian pub.
Most of the new dishes will be available at the Pentland Roadhouse in Loanhead as of today.
Mr Lizeray, 48, who received training at the Ritz Hotel in Paris, said the move was an attempt to add a “continental twist” to pub food.
He said: “We have this kind of thing in France. It’s quite commonplace to have horse meat on the menu.
“And if you think about it, in Loanhead all you have are Indian, Chinese, and fish and chip places to eat – that’s all there is.
“I just wanted to do something different and so far we have had a lot of people who are interested.”
Diners who fancy some horse will be able to choose from two different dishes.
Also on the menu will be wild boar burgers with honey and thyme, and springbok burgers with red wine and rosemary.
For those not so brave, staples like fish and chips, lasagne, and haggis, neeps and tatties will still be available.
From next week, the pièce de résistance – squirrel stew – will be added to the menu.
Mr Lizeray, who has had 20 years of experience as a chef, believed the people of Loanhead are “totally ready” for the unusual menu.
“Half of the punters who come to the pub have already eaten horse meat,” he said.
“Squirrel is proving quite popular in England. There are a lot of pubs there which serve it.”
It took Mr Lizeray nearly two years to track down a horse meat supplier.
He managed to find a squirrel supplier after watching an episode of Come Dine With Me.
He said: “It’s an idea I have been looking into for quite some time.”
He also explained that he plans to offer specials from time to time, using exotic meats such as zebra or crocodile. The pub is also offering customers a challenge with its “wings of death” dish – chicken wings served in a secret recipe, spicy hot sauce.
The chillies used in the recipe measure 490,250 units on the Scoville scale – which is used to measure their heat – making it an extremely fiery plateful.
Diners, who will have to sign a disclaimer before tucking in, will have their photos added to the hall of fame if they clear their plates – and to the hall of shame if they fail.