Once a private dining entity, HolyCrab is now a brick-and-mortar business located along the streets of Tan Quee Lan. Helmed by Chef Elton Seah, the joint’s specialty lies in the innovative flavours that come with his signature crab dishes. I’m talking about names such as Orgasmic, Balsamic, Succumb and Devil’s Crab.
Crustacean lovers will also be delighted to know that they source the crabs fresh from suppliers such as the likes of Apollo Marine, which are known to bring in high quality crabs that are antibiotics-free.
As the brainchild of entrepreneur Jamie Lim who is behind Joo Bar and 8 Korean BBQ, you can expect an equally stylish interior within Holy Crab. While the space might not be the largest, it certainly offers a very comfortable setting that is unlike the typical zi char restaurants selling crab.
You’ll notice that everything from the colour coordinated cutlery and wallpaper mirrors that of the crab shells, and very aptly fits the theme of the restaurant. Definitely a hip place to dine in, if I do say so myself.
When we first came into the restaurant, we were greeted by a massive 3kg crab in a tub — proudly held up by the Chef who interestingly enough, dons a different coloured uniform every day of the week. We caught him in the yellow version of his outfit when we visited.
While this is predominantly a crab restaurant, they do have some superb lunch specials on the menu, as well. The Hokkien Mee ($15) is a shining example of what they can do with seemingly simple hawker dishes.
Pre-fried with several seafood ingredients before being braised in a seafood broth, the noodles boasted an intense wok hei flavour that did not have to rely on any MSG to be tasty. In fact, the charred colour of the noodles are testament to how deliciously smoky it was.
The first crab of the evening was the Succumb ($8/100g) that sits on a charred bed of fine vermicelli with yellow chives and spring onion garnished on top. The crab itself had a super rich flavour that complemented the vermicelli and bits of fried egg embedded within pretty well.
We came to a general consensus that the Devil’s Crab ($8/100g) was our favourite crab dish of the evening. Drenched in butter sauce and infused with curry leaf, this managed to strike a great balance between savoury and spicy.
Furthermore, the butter sauce wasn’t too overwhelming and together with the chilli padi, served to enhance the taste of the crab even further.
Next, we had the slightly spicier Balsamic Crab ($8/100g). Do note that chilli-laden crab dishes come with the option of adjusting spice levels to cater to your taste buds; in this case, we went for spice level three.
Initially, I found the balsamic vinaigrette to be a rather peculiar pairing with the crab but the savoury sauce really does grow on you. Of course, this isn’t just doused in balsamic — the sauce itself comprises of fresh herbs and spices, coupled with a secret ingredient that shall not be divulged.
As the namesake of the restaurant, the Holy Crab ($8/100g) certainly did not disappoint. This crab rendition was served in a thick and creamy broth filled with thick vermicelli and an aromatic curry leaf infusion that wafted through our nostrils.
Unlike most Chinese restaurants that serve this dish with a hint of Martell, this was accompanied with a shot of Sherry that gave it an even better finish. Plus, we managed to snag a female crab so we were able to enjoy some delicious roe underneath the shell.
Our final crab dish was truly Orgasmic ($8/100g). Essentially a classic salted egg yolk crab dish, you can find this in many other zi char restaurants but not everyone does it quite like them.
Here at HolyCrab, a lite cream sauce is utilised to make it slightly less jelak, and at the same time, marry well with the bits of chilli padi and curry leaf scattered throughout.
Dip any of these crab bases in the Ala Carte Mantou (1 for $1, 5 for $4, 10 for $9) and I guarantee that you’ll be in for a treat.
The mantous were absolutely delightful as each bun is fried with a crisp golden brown exterior but yet, manages to remain fluffy on the inside. Certainly a must-have with every crab feast!
To wash everything down, go for the fresh Lemongrass Drink ($3.50) that is perfect to curb the spiciness from the heavier crab dishes. The lemongrass root really gives off a refreshing taste that is sure to perk you up.
While the crab menu might be limited to only a few dishes at the moment, they are always experimenting with new flavours so, you can be on the lookout for more to come.
To maximise on the dining experience, diners are also allowed to split one large crab into two dishes with a different gravy ladeled over each one. Talk about an in-crab-dible deal.
Expected Damage: $40 per pax