Walsh Bay Crabhouse is an offshoot of Harry's Singapore Chilli Crab in a more upmarket waterfront setting. Located at Towns Place in Millers Point the glass front restaurant has a menu that features mud crab in a range of 17 styles for the ultimate crab feast!
"I've found the perfect place for your birthday," said Laura to me. She knows me and "us" so well that I knew that she had put a lot of thought into it. She had gone through a range of options-it couldn't be a cheap and cheerful because it was a birthday and Oncore was an option but she didn't want it to be associated with her work and that's how we ended up at Walsh Bay Crabhouse. It's like the more upmarket version of Harry's Singapore Chilli Crab in Surry Hills which is old school and very quirky.
I remember three things about dining at Harry's in Surry Hills.
- They had a bucket of beer sitting by our table the whole time (just in case!)
- The chilli crab was excellent albeit expensive
- They served us up an actual Monaco bar as dessert billed under "Yummy Ice cream cake"
It is still quirky despite it's waterfront location. The menu at Walsh Bay Crabhouse is a two page laminated menu with some pictures. The main attraction is crab but there's also wagyu beef, fish, prawns and pork with cocktails and beer. The drinks menu has Bali vibes and there's a range of fruity with names like Blonde Porn Star and Coronarita (mini Corona beer in a Margarita) and beers.
But we are here for the crab. The mud crab is live while there are more economical blue swimmer crab options although the latter is frozen. The mud crab ranges from 1.3-1.8 kilos and is $168 a kilo. There are 17 styles of mud crab from the classic Harry's Singapore Chilli Crab to Guangzhou ginger and shallot, South Indian or Sichuan sautéed crab with dry chilli. I get to choose and I select the XO sauce crab with vermicelli. We order some vegetables and some roti and fried buns to go with our crab.
The restaurant is fairly empty this evening and there's one other table in the other section of the restaurant so our food comes out quite quickly. They don't bring the crab out for inspection like at other Chinese restaurants but on the plate it's a beauty with two enormous pincers on top. I don the crab bib and the gloves while Laura goes in unsheathed and we have a finger bowl on standby too. The crab is wonderfully meaty and the XO sauce has so much flavour and permeates through the crab shell to the meat. The vermicelli is a tangle of soft noodles that soak up that sticky, delightful sauce so well. We are in heaven eating this and take our time savouring the crab.
I definitely recommend getting the roti and the fried buns to scoop up the sauce. Both sides have a different texture-the roti is super crispy while the buns have a nice softness ideal for soaking up the sauce.
The Typhoon Shelter Eggplant is a generous serve of battered, deep fried eggplant batons with a topping of finely chopped fried garlic. It's delicious and although there is a lot of garlic it doesn't feel like an overload of it.
While we are eating they start rearranging the tables around us. It's a little like being asked to leave but not being asked to leave and it's only 8pm when they are doing this so it's surely not closing time. But undeterred and enjoying our crab we just ignore the hive of activity around us and the large tables being moved in our peripheral vision.
We have to end off with a classic Chinese restaurant dessert. We ask for the deep fried ice cream with caramel sauce. Perplexingly it is pink in colour but caramel tasting and filled with vanilla ice cream. It's not quite like the Monaco bar but you can really taste the oil that it has been deep fried in. Perhaps we should have ended off with the crab.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you wear gloves when you eat crab? Which restaurant is your ideal birthday dinner restaurant?
This meal was independently paid for.
Walsh Bay Crabhouse
1 Towns Pl, Millers Point NSW 2000
Tuesday to Sunday 11am–3pm, 5–9pm