The review you have all been waiting for.
When a good friend suggested visiting The Fat Crab to me, I couldn't do anything but salivate. and agree, of course.
We rolled up to the newest of the branches, in lively Clapham, in the late afternoon. It was packed. Not so packed that it was hard to move, but thank God we had a reservation. In the corner, was a sink that customers could use to wash their hands. This is something I wish every restaurant would have because I don't see why people should have to use a bathroom sink to wash their hands before, during and after their meals.
We were given bibs (ah, nostalgia) and and some crab snapping tools in a bucket. Our waiter was very knowledgable about the menu items and talked us through the different types of crabs that were available.
I chose the Local Brown Crab. Our waiter explained that the due to the nature of the crab, the meat was prone to shrinking slightly after cooking but that the volume of the meat wouldn't differ too much to what would be in my friend's choice, the Blue Swimmer Crab.
I also ordered a side of Fried Baby Rice Crabs with some Cajun Fries. The crab came in a transparent bag full of liquid seasoning (Lemon Pepper to be precise) and I also ordered to feature in the bag, a 'Handful' of Clams, Potatoes and Corn. Everything in the bag was seasoned to a 'medium' level of spiciness (the menu stipulates that you should state how spicy you'd like your bag of goodies to be).
Cajun Fries and Fried Baby Rice Crabs
Let's start with the cajun fries. I love how crispy the fries were and how well the seasoning complimented them! I am guilty of saying that perhaps potatoes can't take such heavy seasoning but honestly, I think it depends. The cajun seasoning packed a punch but the fries were not doused in it, and that gave the side dish some balance.
The baby rice crabs - the tiniest, cutest things ever - were okay. Eating them reminded me of when I was in university and tried a kangaroo meat burger. To this day, I have no idea if it was really kangaroo or just your typical beef, but it was thrilling for me. Anyway, I was eager to go back and eat one again and a friend told me "you just want to eat it because it is a kangaroo meat burger". I don't remember my response but as you can probably tell, I have always enjoyed trying things that are different, even if there is nothing particularly stand-out about it taste-wise.
The baby rice crabs were crunchy, capsules of a singular flavour. In the mouth, the legs crumbled into the texture of shredded dried shrimp, and the body, which was a bit more stubborn, felt like shards of bone in the mouth when chewed, albeit much thinner. It became. a bit annoying trying to break down the spindly parts of the small crabs in my mouth. The crabs tasted very much like dried shrimp. They had a 'from the sea' type of taste but was I blown away? Not really. I was happy that I tried them, though.
Local Brown Crab in a Steamer Bag with Clams, Corn and Potatoes
Anyway, anyway, anyway. Truth be told, I came for the crab. By the end I had become a leg-cracking, body-popping, back-breaking crab eating connoisseur. My friend and I had filled the bucket with indistinguishable bits of carcass and every hand we owned was a hot mess. Luckily for us, though, and to the envy of everyone else in the restaurant, I had brought us some gloves to use. So, yes, our hands were messy but nowhere near as bad as they could have been.
That SAUCE. I can't believe how delicious everything was. First of all, I was ecstatic with the portion size - it all made sense. The corn soaked up the lemon pepper sauce so well, as did the soft potatoes (my thoughts on potatoes and sauce are really being challenged). The clams were tiny and had I known they would have been that small, I would have have had the prawns instead. They were fun to fish out, though.
There was that flash of lemony goodness that occasionally came through the reddish-brownish sauce everything was smothered in. The sauce was just thick enough so it was quite easily sopped up by everything that was in the bag. The slice of lemon that was included in the bag came in handy when I was coming to the end of my meal and I needed a break from snapping things.
If you want more meat in the legs, definitely go for the local brown crab, as the local swimmer crab had longer, thinner legs. I love crab because of its versatility. Every part of it presents a different texture and even flavour of meat. Every bit of flesh married so well with the lemon pepper sauce - the spice level was perfect too.
I am sure it took around an hour for me to finish all of the food. Normally, I hate being put to work when it comes to my meals but for such tantalising offerings, I can make exceptions. My back hurt after all of this, but it was worth it. I was so satisfied. I wanted to go for another round once everything had digested but thought I'd overdose on food via dessert instead.
I can't recommend The Fat Crab enough! I am well in-the-know about all of the seafood boil places popping up in the UK and I am all here for this. However, I'm very picky when it comes to seafood dominant eateries because seafood poisoning is no joke. To be honest, any kind of food poisoning is no joke. Protect your system! There are a few places I will be trying very soon and I can't wait to tell you all about them.
If you like me, are a seafood enthusiast and want your crab fix, check The Fat Crab out. Look!