Crab Tavern appeared as one of the new additions at London’s Broadgate Circle last year, featuring seafood in a smart city setting. With the lure of a marine menu too much to resist, Shekha heads down to sample the extensive eats on offer.
In a Word:
People who like Crab, modern British cuisine, those who think bibs are novel and seafood fanatics who like getting deliciously messy crab juices everywhere – in what is otherwise a slick city setting.
Set along the vibrant Broadgate Circle this city spot is the real deal, replete with aprons and bibs for the inevitable mess and fun you will have eating. The interior is all high benches and leather booths which add an old world touch. Outside overlooks the Circle so diners can take in a bit of external atmosphere. Weekdays it’s all suits and ties but weekends are quiet with tourists and families making the most of coastal-themed al fresco dining. It’s perfect for a power lunch but also an ice (and crab shell) breaking date spot.
What gives Crab Tavern its appeal is the many ways of preparing the humble/delicious crustacean – all of which really let it sing as the main event.
The star is the crab, though there is other seafood on the menu.
Coming for a light bite, diners have a choice of rolls like Cantonese crab roll with sesame dressing and Old Bay fries or Californian crab roll with pickles. Those who aren’t a fan of fish can stick to a burger and alternative options are ribs, steak and chicken (surf and turf?) and a variety of salads – but vegetarians will have to content themselves with sides like fries and carrots.
Crab Taster, £14.50
We first ordered the “Crab Taster” platter to kick off proceedings.
While the moreish and crispy soft shell crab came with a sweet chili dip and an Asian twist, the crab sub featured more British flavours and greens on moist white rolls. Crab tartare on toast was equally delicious.
The nutty sweetness of the meat came through in each bite, with the different textures and sensations really complimenting each other. Crab tartare on toast was equally delicious. The appetiser was a good size, and worked will to whet our appetites for the feast that was to follow.
Bucket Boil, £35 pp, min two people
The main event was the Bucket Boil which is NOT for the faint hearted. Come hungry because this beast is huge – filled to overflowing with lobster, mussels, a giant crab, Merguez sausage and potatoes which seemed like they were there as a token side.
The bucket is served with the various components swimming in their cooking juices together with lemon and herbs – simple – to show off the quality of the produce. Things do get messy with shell crackers and tough crustacean armour providing much excitement and ricochets – while you don’t get protective eye-gear it is recommended you wear the aprons!
This could easily feed three or four people, and for two it was quite a challenge – but a thoroughly enjoyable one at that.
The lobster and the giant crab were both perfectly prepared, with a rich combination of light and dark meats really showcasing all these shellfish had to offer. Mussels were also chunky and tender, juicy bites popping with the boiling broth. The merguez sausage was a surprise for me, showcasing an earthy depth of flavour which was perfectly counterbalanced with the fish.
Prices are steep but portions are extremely generous so value here is certainly measured. Food is simple, which means the seafood is the focus and the flavour does come through, so diners can expect quality. All in all Crab Tavern is an enjoyable fix to your fruits of the sea cravings but if you want a quiet time, it’s best to go during the day or on weekends.
Crab Tavern, Unit 7, Broadgate Circle, EC2
Telephone: 020 709 62044