Bars

House of Crabs

4/03/2016 08:19:00 PM

House of Crabs

If you know me, you know that I love seafood and I love cocktails. So when I received an invitation to check out House of Crabs, a new American-style crab joint and bar in St Kilda, I was all over it like... well... a case of crabs! (Heh). I also roped in my friend Alaina, Western New Yorker and general bon-vivant, to come along for a sneaky mid-week cocktail and crab fest.

House of Crabs
Basement, 34 Inkerman Street
St Kilda, VIC 3182
Ph: (03) 9810-0031
House of Crabs Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Descending the stairs into the House of Crabs, we were immediately impressed by the moody and atmospheric decor - patterned carpets, red velvet curtains and maroon banquette seating. It was fun and retro, without being tacky or kitsch. I felt like we were in an episode of Vinyl. Alaina felt she could easily get lost here on a three-day bender. In other words, we thought it was awesome.

House of Crabs

House of Crabs

House of Crabs

House of Crabs

Our dinner was quite early on a Wednesday night, which explains the empty seats in my photos, but the venue filled up as the night went on.

We started with a couple of their signature cocktails. Check out the little crab cards!

Lagerita cocktails - Don Julio Blanco Tequila, Lime, Vanilla, Peychaud's Bitters, Pale Ale - $19 each

A lagerita is basically a beer mixed with a margerita. The presentation of the drink was really cute, and it was nice and refreshing. Cheers!

We shared four items from the "snacks" section of the menu as our starters, and shared a serving of crab as our mains.

Soft Shell Crab Tacos - jalapeño mayo, apple - $6 each

The soft shell crab tacos looked like they were light on the crab, but they were actually very well balanced - a nice little starter. The fresh apple slivers contrasted well with the deep fried crab pieces and rich mayo.

Ceviche & guacamole - coconut, lime, blue corn - $16

The ceviche with guacamole was a nice light contrast to the heavier dishes we had, and I liked that the addition of coconut milk prevented it from being too acidic.

Lobster fries - bacon, cheese, lobster gravy - $13

These lobster fries were incredible! Shoestring fries, topped with bacon, melted cheese and lobster gravy. Lobster gravy! Come to mamma!

Slipper lobster donut - kewpie, cucumber - $12

Also very exciting was the slipper lobster donut. This was the filling you might expect to find in a New England lobster roll, but with a donut instead of a fluffy bread roll. The donuts seemed to be made in-house, and were slightly dense and cakey, with a light sugar coating giving a little crunch. With the creamy lobster-kewpie mayo filling and the sharp pickled cucumbers, it was a winning combination.

Slipper lobster donut

Our next drink came out in a fishbowl. Ahem. The menu says it serves two, but this behemoth of a cocktail could easily serve four. We gave it a red hot go but only managed to get about a third of the way through the drink. I personally found the Hurricane Fishbowl a little sweet for my taste, but I did like the tropical flavours of the rum and pineapple.

Hurricane Fishbowl (for 2) - Pampero blanco & especial rum, pineapple, lemon, pomegranate, passionfruit - $28

And then it was time for the crabs! You order your crab (or mussels, or prawns!) in lots of 500 grams with your choice of sauce. These are brought to your table in plastic bags and opened right onto the table. We got Alaskan King Crab, which was a real treat.

Alaskan King Crab - $75 per 500 grams
Alaina's expectant hands hovering in the background

Our crab was cooked in a super buttery lemon pepper sauce, but they also gave us little bowls of all the other sauces (Creole, Cajun, Spicy Malay, Singapore) so we could try them. I quite liked the heat of the Spicy Malay and the (very spicy) Singapore chilli sauce, but I think the lemon pepper sauce was the simplest and allowed the delicious flavour of the crab to shine through.

Alaskan King Crab with the sauces

Then all that was left to do was for us to put on our bibs, grab a claw-cracker, a pair of scissors and a crab pick, and go to town on that crab! As Alaina says, we are tool-using primates, after all. The legs look long and thin, but they were very meaty on the inside - there was definitely enough for two people in there!

Success!

The crab was so good! Really sweet, fresh and moist. I started by cracking and eating each little piece of crab as I went, but after a couple of minutes, I decided the best strategy was to crack all the crab and create a pile of crab meat that I could enjoy all at once. Just quietly, I may have poured the lemon pepper sauce onto the crab and savoured each buttery mouthful. I regret nothing!

Aftermath

We were quite full after all of that food, but couldn't resist a little something sweet to finish off the meal and counteract all those intense flavours.

Chocolate Sundae - salted caramel, chocolate brownie, peanuts - $14

The chocolate sundae - with big squares of rich chocolate brownie, vanilla ice-cream, salted caramel and crunchy peanuts - was a very tasty and classic dessert.

We absolutely loved House of Crabs. It's a really fun venue, and the food was very good. Obviously if you're into seafood then this is the place for you. But even if you aren't - and they do have non-seafood options on the menu - I think it's a great spot for a cocktail or a little snack. Genuinely considering booking a table here for my birthday later this month. Who wants to get messy with me?

Sarah and Alaina dined as guests of House of Crabs

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6 comments

  1. I still haven't been to the one in Sydney! I love crab though so I should really give it a go especially with so many sauces on offer :D

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    Replies
    1. Yes, you must! So indulgent and delicious!

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  2. The place looks nice and cozy! They also have a good set of food. And the crabs are looking lovely!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was really impressed with how good the crabs were! It is very cosy too, good all around :)

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  3. I'm so glad that Aussies can now get their crab on. The number of times I would watch American sitcoms and sigh wistfully at their crab shack feasts!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, right! Woo-hoo!

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