Wellington: the Crab Shack

Crabs and clams are my two most favourite seafood. Crabs always bring back sentimental memories where my family and I would sit around the dining table and pick out the tender crab meat with our fingers and crushing the shells with our teeth. It’s very rare to see whole crabs on menus so imagine my excitement when I found out that Wellington has a new seafood restaurant that has a special emphasis on crab!

The Crab Shack, opened at the beginning of 2013, is a new addition to Shed Five on Queens Wharf. Facing the harbour, the eatery has a quirky interior where light bulbs are surrounded by colourful crab traps and the dining room is filled with coastal themed decor. We arrived just after 5 pm and managed to get a table and the place filled up shortly after with about half to one hour wait for a table (they only take bookings for ten or more people).

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If you’re here for crabs, you might be slightly disappointed with the limited crab options, but they do however, have a decent variety of other seafood including clams, mussels and fish as well as steak, lamb and burgers for the meat eaters. My sister and I ordered the 1kg Nelson Paddle crab cooked with chilli-garlic butter and a scoop of clams cooked in white wine, chilli and garlic cream. Initially, we weren’t sure which type of clams to order, so our lovely waitress (thank you, Jane) offered us a mixed scoop of clams (diamond, tuatua and moon shell) so we could try them all.

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We accompanied our seafood feast with a side of chunky steak fries. Skin on and deep-fried, they were a perfect companion to our rich seafood feast.

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We had a total of four meaty crabs that we devoured with our hands and a very good portion of clams. Although I would have preferred the crabs to be plain, the chilli-garlic butter intensified the flavours of the crab without overpowering it. The chilli gave both dishes a slight bite, but it’s not excessively spicy. Overall, I am very impressed with the Crab Shack. It has a fun and casual atmosphere and the food is non-pretentious and simply amazing. The open kitchen is a great way to witness the busy chefs cooking away over the hot stoves and charcoal barrels and the attentive staff were entertaining and friendly.

Have you got crabs? Because they have!

Date: Saturday 27 July 2013 | Location: Shed Five, Queens Wharf, Wellington | Food: Seafood

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