House of Crabs, Redfern

I don’t like to eat messy food in public. It is very hard to maintain your dignity and your charm when you are elbow deep in sauce and have organic matter hanging from your teeth. There is also the small matter for needing an industrial strength bath straight after. No matter how much I’d like to think that I’m a lady, there is no escaping the fact that I am a messy eater.

IMG_4909

Seafood Toastie for starters

As with everything in life, there are exceptions to this rule. House of Crabs was my exception.

Taking over the first floor of the Norfolk Hotel, I have wanted to visit this mystical place ever since I’d heard that it opened. Not a den of sexually transmitted disease as its name may suggest, House of Crabs is actually a purveyor of some of the best quality shellfish in Sydney (and very recently, Melbourne too). My main delay in booking a table was that none of my friends will eat crustaceans, either for religious reasons or from personal preference so finding a partner in crime was difficult. The perfect opportunity arose when it came to celebrating a family member’s birthday and a seafood restaurant was required.

We booked in for a Tuesday night at 7pm and though I had worried about the noise level (having heard that it could get rowdy) the place was deserted. This actually suited us just fine as certain family members hate noise and the Caribbean style decor and retro American punk rock music provided enough of an atmosphere. I particularly loved the Forrest Gump quotes.

IMG_4913

The disappointing fish dish

Despite this being a special occasion, I know myself so I dressed for the venue rather than the event. I wore my gym clothes. I sweat in these things so I thought what harm would a little tomato sauce and prawn juice do to them? For those of you who have never heard of House of Crabs, I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself “is this girl a wild animal? Why can’t she keep her food on her plate?” Well let me explain, there is no plate.

Although there are other dishes on the menu like pork ribs and buttermilk fried chicken, the main event is the seafood – a choice of six different types from mussels to prawns to king crab, sold in 500g quantities and served in a plastic bag after being boiled with your choice of sauce. The idea is that you empty your bag of protein goodness out onto the plastic table cloth, don a pair of gloves and the apron suppled and hoe on in.

IMG_4912

The bag of deliciousness

And hoe we did and let me tell you, it was delicious!!! My choice was the QLD prawns in the Spicy Malay sauce and it was just glorious. I ripped off their heads, sucked out the delicious meat, pulled off their little armour, devoured their succulent bodies and then finished off by licking the remains to get that rich tomato and oniony sauce. Are you disgusted? I’m sorry but it was so so worth it.

IMG_4915

Crab in a bag

One of my other family members also picked the prawns and was equally satisfied. The birthday boy got the snow crab in garlic butter and enjoyed himself immensely! He couldn’t stop exclaiming how large the legs were and how much meat was inside them. The only person who was disappointed got one of the main dishes – a crumbed and fried fish dish that turned out to be a rather flat and dry schnitzel style of dish. It was a strategic error made in the attempt to keep clean and one which was bitterly regretted.

By the end of the night I was covered! We didn’t linger at the end of the meal. After quick exclamations of ‘Happy Birthday’ we made for our car and spirited on home in search of a shower and a tooth pick. A great night worth getting messy for!

IMG_4919

The state of the table

Advertisements

Eathouse Diner, Redfern

I think it was Shakespeare who said “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. I wonder if food by any other name would be as tasty? Well for Sunday breakky with my awesome cousins (one of whom used to be a professional chef) I wasn’t going to risk it. I picked Eathouse Diner as the scene of our catch up – it’s purpose is all in the name!

IMG_0777.JPG

Located in East Redfern on Chalmers street, this charming venue with stuffed koalas, mint green walls and fairy lights has been open for lunch and dinner for a while now but has only recently opened its doors for breakfast. It’s so new I don’t even know the locals know about it! Getting a table just after 10am was dead easy – we were one of only two groups sitting but as the time crept towards lunch, the place filled up.

The menu is succinct, very well priced and boy is it tasty!! The random box of rubber, bloodied, severed hands that happened to be just lying around couldn’t even put us off.

IMG_0780.JPG

One cousin when classic and got scrambled eggs on toast with tomato relish and baby rocket ($12). I’m not a big scramble fan but these looked creamy and were apparently delicious. I also have it on good authority that the relish was top notch. Two others at the table ordered the huevos rancheros ($16) – a spicy concoction of beans, onion and tomato, hidden beneath two large fried eggs and topped with guacamole, coriander and sliced jalapeño. This hotty pattoty was warming and filling and the tortilla it was served with made it fun to eat. Not for the spice allergic!

IMG_0779.JPG

I went with the ricotta fritters served in tomato, red pepper salsa, topped with Parmesan ($14). This was quite a surprise. I expected hotcakes – Bill Granger style and ended up with little arancini looking balls of cheesy goodness. I loved that they felt the need to top this dish with more cheese. It was definitely an awesome pick, especially as I’d been considering the Bircher muesli. Golden and crunchy on the outside, smooth an creamy inside, all these needed was a bit of salt.

IMG_0778.JPG

In addition to the food, another highlight, and I really don’t say this often (if ever) are the toilets! The decor is just too awesome! Who doesn’t want to pull their hand towel off a French waiter roll holder?

Add some really nice and friendly staff into the mix and the place is a winner