Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Crab Shack, Wellington CBD

The first thing I do when going to a different city is check out the food offerings. So naturally, I got very excited when I discovered that there was a crab shack at Wellington's Shed 5. Like, the squealy kind of excited.



Even though I was only coming down for a conference, I was determined to make a weekend of it. I was also able to convince Jason to come down with me (too easy), and we wandered down to Shed 5 together.

The Crab Shack was absolutely packed when we arrived and we were told that there would be a 1.5 hour wait. I kicked myself for not booking ahead, but wasn't deterred. We put ourselves on the second page on a very long waiting list and went off for drinks. 


Luckily, the wait didn't turn out to be quite that long and we were seated while it was still light. The interior was dressed to look like a fishing boat, with crab baskets hanging from the ceiling and mismatched decking on the walls. Every table was packed and the kitchen looked super busy. The smell of garlicky crab wafted through the air -I couldn't wait to order.


Salted Lychee Höpt Soda - $4.00
I opted for the Höpt Soda because I'm a real sucker for anything Lychee flavoured. The salt muted the sweetness you would usually get from something Lychee flavoured, but still let the fruitiness through. It had quite an interesting taste and I noted that I never got sick of the flavour because it wasn't overwhelmingly sweet.


Kiwi Clam Chowder in a Jar - $10.00
We ordered the clam chowder based on reviews and boy, was I glad we listened! It had a perfect creamy consistency and its flavour reminded me a bit of salted caramel. As it was so rich, the small jar was the perfect size for sharing between two people.


Raw Fish Board - $16.00
The raw fish trio arrived on a coriander salad and topped with fried shallots. We had four generous slices of salmon, tuna and something I didn't quite catch -cronow? crowno? (I asked the waitress to repeat it three times before I got embarrassed and pretended to understand..)

Anyway, the fish was very fresh. My favourite part about this dish was the dipping sauce - lemongrass and chili, which had a fantastic tang to it. It went very well with the tuna and the mysterious white fish but we felt that it wasn't strong enough to combat the oily salmon.


1kg Nelson Paddle Crab - $30.00
My eyes widened as our server brought our 1kg crab pot and I began to wonder if we had grossly overestimated how much we could eat. I needn't have worried, however, as the the night was still young and the crab was good.

The paddle crabs were steamed in a garlic and chili butter and were incredibly messy to eat -although that just adds to the fun, don't you think? We were given bibs and all the proper tools to help us along, but they just got in the way and we ended up using our hands and teeth which made it more satisfying.


The aftermath
When we finally worked our way through all the dishes, we agreed that it was the most satisfying meal we'd had in a good while. There is something about getting your hands messy and having to work to get at your food that makes it so rewarding. We looked around the restaurant and had a little chuckle at all the other tables who were also enjoying the challenge (we were too full to move, you see).



As you can see from the above photo, it was well after sundown when we finally left the Crab Shack. We slowly walked back to our hotel, hands on our bellies, lamenting the fact we couldn't eat any more and looking forward to our next visit.

The Crab Shack is located at Queens Wharf, Wellington CBD