After seeing pictures of crab boil in plastic bags and watching Adam Richman on Man vs. Food hammering the crap out of crawfish to get the meat (and making a giant mess in the process), I was super excited about the prospect of crab boil coming to Sydney.
Last week, the Drink n Dine group opened their newest venture, the House of Crabs, on the 1st floor of The Norfolk in Redfern. As expected from a place called “House of Crabs”, there’s plenty of crustaceans to be had in a variety of sauces, but for the non-seafood lovers out there, rest assured there’s also steak and some damn good fried chicken ($18) as well.
We kick things off with a couple of cocktails (Peach cobbler – $10 and Arnold Palmer iced tea – $10, pictured) which are dangerously easy to drink. We’re also able to sample some of the sides and snacks including the smoked sausage with mustard and pickles ($7), and the buffalo cucumber ($5) which tasted just like buffalo wings with the same tangy sauce and blue cheese taste, but healthier!
The side of creole corn is charred on the grill before being sliced up into small cobbettes and spiced up with some crushed Doritos and jerky salt. The corn is addictive and before long we’ve gnawed off the whole cob, but a lot of the Dorito topping falls off as you eat it which is a shame.
The main event arrives which is the crab boil! There are a range of seafood options to choose from, including mussels, clams, prawns, blue swimmer crab, snow crab and Alaskan king crab. Eating shellfish is messy work but the House of Crabs is well prepared for this with butchers paper-lined tables, gloves in the cutlery containers and bibs for everyone. The portions of crab arrive in plastic bags containing the succulent crab and your choice of sauce from Cajun, Mexican, Oriental and Lemon Pepper.
There are knives and forks provided in the cutlery containers but all you really need is a nutcracker to prise the sweet flesh from the shells. You can use the gloves but the Cajun sauce is spicy, buttery and delicious so you’ll want to lick it off your fingers – it’s literally finger lickin’ good.
The prawns are a less messy option but by no means less tasty. The flavour of the sauce doesn’t get through to the prawns as well as it does into the crab, so the prawns have a sweeter seafood flavour rather than the punch of the sauce.
Once you’re done, the shells and other mess are neatly wrapped up by the butchers paper and magical growing moist towelettes appear on the table for you to clean your hands. It’s hands-on, messy but delicious fun so head on down to the House of Crabs and get your crab on!
Penguin says Feed Me dined courtesy of House of Crabs
House of Crabs
Level 1, 305 Cleveland Street
Redfern NSW 2016
Ph: +61 2 9699 3177
Lunch: Friday, noon – 3pm
Dinner: Tuesday to Saturday, 6pm – late