Mr. Crab, Al Barsha – Dubai

So it’s Tuesday afternoon and my girls rung me up with Ladies Night picks, but I was in the mood to deviate from the usual routine. I wanted to do something different, something fun. A quick search here and a few phone calls later my partner in crime decided on a place close to where I work. So off we trooped to Mr Crab – located in Barsha 1, a stone throw’s distance away from Mall of the Emirates.

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We were greeted by a friendly attendant at the door, and ushered in. The interior is quite chic – the place is peppered with wooden crate designs, colourful flower pots and light bulbs hanging from the ceiling reminiscent of fireflies – almost evoking a sensation of being in a dream, which is a good thing.

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There is an orange glow to the place, and this coupled with orange coloured chairs and wooden benches/tables – is enough to get you into a calm state. I reckon there are subtle elements of Zen at play here.

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Now Mr. Crab happens to be a seafood restaurant – and ordering involves 3 easy stages – you select the type of seafood, and how you want it made (boiled, grilled or fried), then select the types of sauces and lastly the heat level of the sauces – and voila, you’re all set. But wait, I did say I wanted a fun Tuesday evening right? So here’s where things got juicy – quite literally. The service attendants handed us a pack of disposable gloves and the usual devices (crab crackers, scissors and picks) – and almost immediately, we had devilish grins on our faces, for we knew we were all set to make a mess and relish in the moment. It feels wonderfully communal and somehow primitive – almost caveman-ish to crack shellfish and eat with your hands – but that’s all part of the experience. You can’t help but share laughs with your partner seeing the mess each one makes.

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When it came to finalising our order, it was easy. Hot shellfish when paired with sauces make me weak in the knees. Besides, I’m a sucker for lobsters – so naturally I opted for the charcoal grilled variety, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that the flesh was firm and full of flavour – the texture sublime and when dipped with chimichurri (7 spices) sauce made for a lip smacking moment.

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My partner opted for fried shrimps which arrived in a cute bucket with a heavy batter – something you would put on a corn dog, but having said that, they were so delicious that he couldn’t stop dragging the shrimp through a sweet chilli-spiked sauce for more. Being a self-professed shrimp tasting connoisseur, he also tried the grilled version and they were cooked to perfection – juicy and succulent, and they made for a very pretty sight when presented on the table. We also happened to try fried soft shell crab and calamari – and they ticked the boxes of being crunchy and when paired with black pepper or chilli vinegar sauces, made for an interesting bite or two.

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One of the co-owners Angelica happened to drop by our table and this sweet lady took the time to indulge us in some light banter. She spoke about her passion for seafood, restaurant life and shed light on the fact that this restaurant is relatively new – it will celebrate its first anniversary in July this year. It’s always refreshing when the owners are available to mix and match with patrons – it lends that personal touch to the place. Even though the “Brownie Madness” happens to their specialty in the dessert section, Angelica suggested we try an aptly named “Gimme s’mores” – delicious marshmallows, served with extremely rich hot chocolate sauce and paired with biscuits – oh, sweet indulgence par extraordinaire – so simple, yet a perfect way to end the meal.

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All in all, I would say that the food that comes out of Mr Crab’s kitchen is for the most part hard to fault, and the venue’s charming vibe (and close proximity to Mall of the Emirates) makes it worthy of your time. Oh, and the prices are a steal – surprisingly low, and very good value for money. We will definitely pop in to avail the unlimited crab with rice and drinks offer on Sundays!

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