Of claw and order: The year-old Ministry of Crab continues to get our vote

High ceilings and glamorous interiors make Ministry of Crab a celebratory space in every sense.

When Colombo’s Ministry of Crab (MoC) came to Mumbai, a lot of naysayers shook their heads with dire forecasts about its reception. A year later, they’re not only eating their words but we see them consuming the restaurant’s signature garlic chili crab with gusto at the anniversary celebration. That’s how Chef-restaurateur Dharshan Munidasa converts people into crabaholics – one crustacean at a time!

The Story of Cacao is a fantastic dessert that cleverly combines a luscious dark (almost bitter) chocolate and cacao nibs with a surprise coconut cream core on chocolate soil that bears faint traces of chili.

It’s been a year full of opulence, lagoon crabs and handcrafted cocktails, and MoC is marking the milestone in style. They’re celebrating this ONEderful year of operations in Mumbai with ‘The 1st Pour’ – a limited edition anniversary special cocktail menu curated by India’s leading mixologists, that will be on until March 31. Names of the caliber of celebrated mixologists Shatbhi Basu and Dimi Lezinska, Cocktails & Dreams’ Yangdup Lama, Stranger & Sons’ Head Brand Ambassador Jeet Rana, Rahul Raghav of O Pedro, Pankaj Balachandran of Hoots’, Karl Fernandes of Cazulo Premium Feni, Harinath Shankar of Bar Masons, Diageo India’s Brand Ambassador Khushnaz Raghina, and Ministry of Crab’s Head of Beverage Innovation & Mixologist Varun Sudhakar have poured their expertise into this. 

Creamy crab salad and avocado are a match made in heaven

One delightful afternoon where we were invited to celebrate the old favorites and sample the new creations, we enjoyed the serene music, the sunlit interiors, and the impeccable service as we sipped on our rather pink Japanese Happiness. Created by Diageo World Class 2019 India Champion Devi Singh, it was a refreshing mix of Ketel One vodka, yuzu cordial, honey and a pomegranate and mint shrub, which complemented the delicate flavors of the chilled Avocado and Crab Salad (especially since it has a hint of wasabi in the mayo). The Crab Kotthu that followed had a unique twist, the curried crab mixed with idiappam or string hoppers instead of the customary crushed paratha. This one’s part of their new ‘nibbles’ menu.

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The curried crab string hopper kotthu is served innovatively too
The famous garlic chili crab! People travel all the way to Colombo for this.

Next, neatly folded bibs arrived at our side, politely accompanied by a cutter and pick. Before we could ready ourselves for the much-anticipated piece de resistance (the afore-mentioned garlic chili crab), we were assaulted by its heady aroma – the sweetness of the crabmeat, the punch of pepper, the umami roastiness of the garlic, the zing of Sri Lankan chili – and were salivating even before we dug in. The taste lived up to the hype and we soaked up every last morsel with bread until the custom-made crockery shone clean. As Chef Dharshan explains, “A restaurant is about discovery, creating memories through experiences. According to me, the crab is tastiest when you go all in, eating with your hands and licking up the sauce.”

We ask the celebrity chef the secret sauce to his success with all his restaurants. He smiles enigmatically and answers, “Restaurants are about focus. Focus on an ingredient, focus on a genre, focus on a cuisine… We are one of the few restaurants in Mumbai that focus on ONE ingredient.” Even better that they source as locally as possible, using South Indian mud crabs. For us, it’s a win-win. Let’s hope they follow their own credo and ‘Keep Calm & Crab On’ for years to come. 

Where: 442, Chitrakar Dhurandar Marg, 14th Rd,
Khar West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400052
Phone: 077108 98811

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