Mumbai being a city bordered by the Arabian sea, is abundant with seafood joints. From freshly caught fish to clams, hole-in-the-wall eateries, fine dining restaurants and every place in between can provide fare caught from the fisherman's net at sunrise. Amongst them, crabs are a specialty items so when a restaurant has a name like Ministry Of Crab, you can only expect the best served from the shores. Sri Lankan at its heart, the restaurant serves traditional seafood favourites and luxurious bar offerings with crab being the focal serving. Ministry Of Crab recently launched a new set menu for two persons which we had a chance to experience at their Khar outlet in Mumbai. Here's how it went.
Situated in a leafy lane in Mumbai's Khar suburb is an art deco bungalow which houses the restaurant. We entered through the massive wooden doors which were surrounded by spacious glass windows; heritage decor that left us in disbelief that we were in the midst of Mumbai.
Low seated sofas, wooden tables and chairs in the wide space comprised of seating arrangements with different sizes of crab even being a part of their decor. Each table had a special set of tools to break down the crab and a bib to keep your outfit spotless, a thoughtful touch for diners.
Ministry Of Crab recently launched a set menu for two persons which has a single small plate serving of either prawn, chicken or crab with a side of vegetables for the entre. For mains, one can select a single small, medium or large sized crab with your choice of sauce and sides from the selection given to accompany the crab. Pick from among two desserts to finish your meal with a sweet touch. The menu also includes a non-alcoholic beverage for each diner.
Our journey into the seafood lover's paradise began with mixed vegetables and oyster chicken as prawn wasn't available at that particular time. You'd think a side like that of vegetables wouldn't make much of an impact but it did. The non-alcoholic beverages were ideal to wash down the delicious fare to come.
Smokey hints throughout the cabbage, carrots and mushrooms complemented the chicken chunks that were oozing with juiciness when cut open.
When crab is included in the very name of the restaurant, expectations for the shellfish were sky high. We selected a large crab in garlic chili sauce with sides of Kade Bread and Garlic Rice. When it arrived at the table, the mammoth size of the dish definitely had us second guessing the size of our stomachs. The orange crab was placed in a glistening pool of chili and garlic sauce. Crab eating is a messy sport and if you're a newbie, the thought of breaking it down can be daunting. However, the restaurant conveniently partially chops the shell fish at its joints with the shell cracked open. Fishing out the meat with the tools provided is left up to you. While the sauce didn't have a distinct chili flavour, the crab stole all our attention.
Approximately 40% of a crab is its meat, is what the staff told us so although it looked large, the proportion of edible meat is smaller. The large crab was a great size as the chunks of meat were sizable enough to dig into. Tender and almost sweet to taste, I've never tasted crab meat so divine. The traditional Kade Bread wasn't out of the ordinary but the Garlic Rice is a must to accompany your crab dish. Packed with garlic flavour, when combined with crab chunks and its runny sauce, it will take you to seafood heaven.
For dessert, we chose the Black Pearl, which was perfectly in theme with the seafood fare of the restaurant. A gold dusted hard ball of chocolate came served over crumb in a shell dish. Crack it open, much like we did the crab, and it revealed a merger of caramel, praline and more chocolate. Safe to say, not much was left on the plate once dessert was done.
The Highs And Lows
The highlight dish of crab delivered in every aspect, from its flavour to the way the shell fish was treated to the convenience to eat it with. The chili and garlic sauce could have been more flavorsome and besides the traditional appeal of the Kade Bread, it didn't do much for us as a side. But every single other item on the set menu ticked every box for us; from the vegetables to the chicken to the Garlic Rice to the dessert, which more than made up for it.
If you're specifically a crab lover, don't walk but run to Ministry Of Crab for their new set menu. Priced at approximately Rs 4,295 for two, it's an experience along with a delicious meal that highlights crab in all its glory with modern Sri Lankan touches. Ministry Of Crab also offers a vegetarian set menu that is priced at approximately Rs 2,125.