Review of Walsh Bay Crab House, Millers Point
From the owners of the award winning, Harry's Singapore Chilli Crab Restaurant, is newcomer, Walsh Bay Crab House, serving up all the iconic favourites you may know from Harry's, now in a fine dining atmosphere, with new refined dishes, and a stunning waterside location facing Walsh Bay Wharf.
The media launch of Walsh Bay Crab House (hosted by Hungry Diner) is one of the hottest tickets in town, with a veritable who's-who of the Sydney Food Blogger scene coming out to show support, and more importantly, experience the new fine dining offering from the long running, Harry's Singapore Crab. I first visited Harry's about 13 years ago with a couple of friends, one in particular who just didn't understand the concept of Singapore Chilli Crab- he said he didn't want the sauce, just lemon!! Can you imagine?!- and from there I fell in love with the dish, devouring it again and again on my trips to Singapore. Harry's does a version that rivals the hawker centres of Singapore and quite frankly, is some of the best crab eating in Sydney. Their new restaurant, Walsh Bay Crab House, in Millers Point is a modern, airy set up with wall to wall glazing to make the most of the stunning location. We are served Harry's own branded wines this evening of which the Chardonnay is a firm favourite of mine.
Obviously seafood is the focus here, and by gosh do they do it well. We start the undercard of the meal with a 1-2 punch in the form of the Steamed Oysters with Ginger and Shallot, tender plump oysters bathing in a warm liquor of soy, ginger and shallot then BAM through with the right cross of Scallop on the Half Shell with XO and Vermicelli. The XO certainly packs a punch in terms of flavour with the salty bacon-y goodness such a lovely counter point to the sweet and tender scallops. I slurp mine up and the dregs from everyone else! #stayclassy The Sea Urchin steamed with egg divides the room, not for cooking technique, which is perfect, but the concept of eating sea urchin full stop. I'm a lover of the creamy, yet fresh delicate morsel from the sea whereas there were comments flying around that it smells like snorkling! Now what is the smell of snorkling? I'm not sure but that's not how I see it. What a treat to get to enjoy such a delicacy and done so well perched proudly atop of jiggly pillow of steamed egg custard. Simply divine! XO Pipis are next and I'm sad to say that I although these are nice, they don't stand up with the Golden Century version. It is a very tough benchmark to live up to, so you can't really blame the dish. The Wash Bay Signature Seafood Platter is one of the new menu items exclusive to the Millers Point location, and it's a crowd pleaser. I can see everyone absolutely loving this with a balance of hot and cold items (including scampi, lobster, blue swimmer crab, oysters and squid) with a serve of really good chips. Think McDonald's fries but cooked further to get really crispy. Its a generous serve and with a side salad, would easily feed my family of 2 adults and 2 kids.
Annnnndddddd now for the MAIN EVENT! (wow seems I'm really sticking with this boxing analogy! #committment #leanin) The crab! Ahh the crab. Only the best mud crabs from Far North Queensland are used at Harry's and Walsh Bay Crab House, with co-owner Andy driving out to the domestic airport every morning to hand select the best live mud crabs, with the remaining rejects being sent onto Sydney Fish Market. It is quite the spectical seeing the live crabs in the restaurant and getting to touch and feel if you wish. We are enjoying the 3 signature preparations for this mud crab being: Singapore Chilli, Black Pepper and Garlic Butter. The Singapore Chilli crab is of course cooked perfectly, of course moreishly saucy, and of course utterly delectable. Everyone reaches for the roti and the little fried bread rolls to mop up all that beautiful sauce and all manners fly out the window, with finger licking, slurping and all manner of foodie sharing going on. This is their signature dish and boy is it a banger!
“The Black Pepper Crab takes me by surprise with a giant POW to the face in the best way possible! The crab is coated in copious amounts of freshly cracked black pepper, so much that the level of spice is quite intense (it is actually more spicy than the chilli crab) but so fragrant and a gorgeous juxtaposition to the sweet, tender meat inside.''
The Garlic Butter is the most subtle out of the three, with the luscious, almost creamy butter and garlic sauce coating the tasty beast. While the other foodies are fighting over who gets the claws, I smugly take the legs. In my opinion the legs hold the sweetest, most gelatinous crab meat, and I am more than happy to do a bit of extra work to get it #teamlegs
After all that spectacular crab, the other dishes just don't seem as special. Not to say that they aren't good, they are, but lets be honest, we came here to GET CRABS! #gotcrabs #iwenttoahungrydinereventandgotcrabs The Lemon Sole with Chilli Butter Sauce is slightly overcooked for me, and if that's my only criticism for the entire banquet meal, they're doing pretty fantastically! The Salted Egg Yolk King Prawns are rich and indulgent and similarly, the Wagyu Cubes in Garlic Sauce are unbelievably tender and juicy and the perfect dish for that annoying friend who doesn't eat seafood. #wecantbefriendsanymore
With a harbourside setting to match the outstanding food, Walsh Bay Crab House has hit the mark! The Chilli Crab is iconic for a reason and it is plain to see why devotees have being going back to Harry's since 1982. The fine dining element here is the step up to be able to host large parties, business dinners, long lunches and special date nights. I have been converted to a Black Pepper Crab fan and I am interested to see how Harry's version stacks up against local Singapore chefs' when I fly to Singapore next week. Of course I'll have to come back to Walsh Bay Crab House just to double check as well! In the name of research people!
Walsh Bay Crab House 1 Towns Place, Millers Point
*I dined here as a guest of Walsh Bay Crab House and Hungry Diner but all opinions remain my own.