Monday, December 01, 2008

Crabby Patties

So, long time no good food.

Sadly, its been a bit of a drought for me too. I've not been inspired much and not had much of an appetite for anything interesting. It's one of the annoying things of being out of work. You feel like you should save money and subsequently eat at home much more often. And as I've said before, I am NOT a cook. I'm an eater.

I have, however, last week, made a huge pot of Ginger Vinegar Pig's Trotters to bring to two friends who have recently given birth to adorable baby girls and even given a taster to a friend who has never had them but come to love them, much to my surprise and delight!

Last week, I was in Weymouth. Yes, I didn't know where that was either but it's where the boy is working at the moment during the week and I thought I'd tag along. It's interesting. But this review is timely, seeing as Weymouth has just completed the sailing venue for the 2012 Olympics on time and on budget!

While the boy spends his time working, I've spent my time exploring the town. Which took about 1 hour. Hmmm, it wasn't going to work out. I've looked in a lot of closed little shop and cafe windows and thought about how fun it could be in season. Teeming with senior citizens, it has been an experience to say the least. I even went to Poole to find some excitement only to find it mostly shut as well.

In an effort to keep my interest, the boy discovered that the Crab House Cafe was within distance and we went to have a look on the Monday we arrived only to find that it was only open Wednesday through to Sunday. We returned on Wednesday with low expectations.

However, inside was a cosy little restaurant with about a dozen tables and we were one of three occupied tables that night. Although I was a bit concerned of the lack of custom, my fears were assauged as soon as I glanced at the bright-eyed, impossibly fresh seafood, caught earlier that day which was laid out by the open plan kitchen.

When we looked at the menu, printed daily mind you, the boy bemoaned the fact that it was only open during the days he wasn't in the city. I must admit his love of fish is directly proportional to my opposition to cooking it and having the smell linger in the flat. The deprived boy began immediately with 1/2 a dozen oysters, which he slurped down without a word to his colleague and myself, as well as a cod and skate (....) which was prepared much like coronation chicken (curry, mayo and raisins) and was a bit too strong for my taste, overwhelming the delicate flavor of the fish.

His colleague and myself both had the Thai fish cakes, which were perfectly crispy on the outside while being moist on the inside. I would say they are more like French quenelles or croquettes. But then again, I have an aversion to putting the "Thai" label on anything prepared with lemongrass. It also came with sweet Thai chili sauce which went well but a squeeze of lemon would have been just as nice.

For a main, the boy smartly chose the fish pan, which came with 5 varieties of fish (clockwise from top): John Dory (St. Pierre in French), skate, grey mullet, cod and one other fish whose name escapes me. It was a fairly large portion but the boy managed to finish it.

His colleague had the grey mullet, which looked good, with nice crispy skin on the top.

I opted for the "crab to crack". Although I was given the choice of the spicy Chinese crab or the plain, I opted for the plain. I was dubious about the spices that were going to be used and I did want to taste the crab unmasked by sauces. I was given a "kit" which included a bib (this was definitely useful), a small hammer, crab crackers, a crab pick and a little wooden cutting board. Then the gigantic crab came out. This was completely unlike the much smaller crabs I was used to back home. This was a big'un, cooked, cooked and then cut up for me to dissect.

I looked at the roe..... gosh, it was drippy, rich and unctuous. It was also a male and came with just a touch of the gooey bits that I so love in hairy crabs. It was meaty and sweet but not as sweet as the smaller crabs but oh, so satisfying. The roe was delicious. It was a little hard to get into the meat and the use of the hammer was definitely needed. by the end I really needed a full bath to rid myself of crab shell still clinging to my hair.

I ate and ate and ate.... in fact, this is the ONLY time I was too full to eat the lower legs. Usually I hate to waste crab and eat everything but this time, I was full of crab and the boy and his colleague had been waiting at least 40 minutes for me to finish so I gave up the lower legs and called it quits.

Sadly the pictures didn't turn out so well as I only had my camera phone. I would show you the roe but it looks like a blurry over-exposed mess!

Definitely worth going to (if you're in the area... maybe to attend or see the Olympic sailing competition in 2012) and the warm welcome was a real bonus.

Crab House Cafe
The Fleet Oyster Farm
Ferrymans Way
Portland Rd, Wyke Regis
Tel: 01305 788867


susan said...

Oh, this sounds good. I ate hairy crabs twice last week and thought of you. Had three the first night (all boys - very small ones, so not much "sticky stuff") plus a dish of roe with fried rice; the next day we ate crab roe lo mien but no plain crabs (someone in our group thought they were too much work - and it wasn't Nigel!).

Sui Mai said...

Oh Susan.....

I'm soooo jealous....

I really want hairy crabs!!

I think it would be really good with fried rice.... or a dish with sticky rice, that would be good too...

ar ar ar ar ar....

(that's a Homer-esque drool in case you haven't noticed!)