Saturday, December 16, 2017

YummY! - Sri Lankan Crabs @ Ministry of Crab

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Sri Lankan Crabs @ Ministry of Crab
Colombo, Sri Lanka - December 2017
We ended our holiday in Sri Lanka with a grand finale, a meal of sumptuous Sri Lankan crabs at one of the most renown place for eating crabs - The Ministry of Crab. Yes, it may sound an odd or pompous name yet it was appropriate as here they take their crabs seriously, ensuring that they are fresh and of a minimum size. Their cooking too takes advantage of Sri Lanka as a hot spot for spices, coming in various styles of preparation: spicy ones (note that I use the term spicy to mean cooked with many spices) without being overly spicy to masks the taste of the crab meat; or those chilli hot ones tempered so that they are not too chilli hot for the Western palates. 
Let's take a walk in.

The Ministry is one of many up-market outlets within Colombo's Old Dutch Hospital, a stately heritage building which has been refurbished and revamped as an up-scale shopping and dining precinct. Click here to read more about the building's history AND Click here to see some of the shop outlets at the precinct.

We walked in just slight before our reservation time of six. Yup, this place is frequently packed, so best to make reservations. They do take walk-ins if space is available but one may be asked to rush and finish eating before the next reservation time. Our tables were laid out with saffron yellow napkins folded to look like a coat, a small touch which forebears of great things to come.

Hold on to your... CRABS! We started of with an "appetizer", Huge prawns cooked in butter with sprinklings of crushed black pepper.

With half-peeled bodies their head looked gigantic and the flesh a light golden yellow, tempting us to take a bite.

We ordered a couple of plates of wood-fired Kade bread, these went very well with the lightly spiced butter sauce. But we saved most of the bread for the crab dishes which will come later on.

We had a prawn each, and I slowly pealed away the head shell tor reveal what lies beyond. Yes, there are some slivers of meat there, softer and juicier than the body meat.

But it's the firm body meat that got to me, the cooking had form an outer buttery coat. Taking a bite in, this tasty outer coat went very well with the firm and very fresh meat. Yes, this is a good start, an appropriate starter, a warming up of our palate and appetites for more to come.

Aiks! What's this? Where are the crabs?
Patience, patience... just after the prawns came several other medium offerings of other dishes to balance off our meal. Above is the Pol Sambol, a traditional Sri Lankan dish served with fish from the Maldives. The coconut used is hand scraped before being ground in traditional "miris gala" grinding stone.

Some stir-fried mixed vegetables...

and Kankun (water spinach) stir-fried with garlic bits.

And the ever-favorite staple, garlic fried rice. Their version is lightly fried and presented in the shape of an packed octagon.

I am getting into the mood of the place, it's cozy old-feel atmosphere. Despite the hard walls with any curtains, the place was not overly noisy; I guess the tall ceiling helped.

The kitchen is an opened one, patrons can view all the preparation and cooking in the clean-cut and hygienic place.

Food here is served pretty fast, with the first dish coming out between ten to fifteen minutes after after ordering.
The crabs we had were Colossal crabs, each weighing between 1.2 to1.4 kg. Though large, these are not the biggest, which is their Crabzilla which weighs over two kilos.
The above is the Garlic Chilli crab, with huge claws. No worries, steel pincers were provided to break these up for easy eating although I did find the pincers a bit too small to handle the thickness of the claws. For me, I prefer the body meat which tends to be softer and tastier.

The Black Pepper Crab.

The meat inside the claws - full and firm and best of all they do not stick to the shell.

We also had Curry Crabs, cooked with crabs of a smaller size. This was when we asked for more Kade bread to soak and lap up the tasty curry.

Look at the size of that CLAW!


For drinks we had the house concoction of Ice Tea Soda, with the tea and soda giving a double zing of peppiness.

And chilled king coconut water; this was not bad but not as good as the Malaysian Pandan coconuts.
Overall, it was a very fantastic meal; a very pleasant way to end our stay in Sri Lanka.
Price-wise it came to 12,000LKR, it was a tad expensive than the usual seafood places but then this is Fine Dining of the finest crabs cooked in the a most sumptuous way and eaten in a classy, cozy environment.

Below are the Food and Drinks menu. Pricing was at the time we had our meal:

Click on the photos of the menu for a clearer enlarged view.

Old Dutch Hospital, Colombo 01, Sri Lanka, 00100 Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Tel: +94 11 2 342722
Lunch 11.30 am to 03.30 pm Dinner 05.00 pm to 11.00 pm
Closed on Poya (Full Moon) Days.
GPS : 6.93355, 79.84329

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