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4/5

The Fat Crab

53 Haig Road, Colombo 4

  • Call 727777755
  • Open 5-7 PM (wine and beer), 7 -10:30 PM (dining), Weekends also open for lunch (12:30 PM to 3 PM)


The Fat Crab on Marine Drive is well known for their seafood.



The Fat Crab is an unpretentious seafood bistro that is a valuable addition to the growing restaurant scene along Marine Drive and fills the need for a mid-range crab specialist in Colombo.

The Food



The Fat Crab calls itself a seafood bistro. Its menu is not extensive, but is certainly exciting*. Options include some standard fare, but also more unusual appetizers like Fresh Bentota Oysters Shucked with Raspberry Vinegar (Rs 825), soups like Curried Prawn Bisque (Rs 625), mains like Mrs. Flogesteen’s Seafood Pie (Rs 980) and desserts like Grilled fresh Pineapple with Cinnamon & Vodka Ice Cream (Rs 475). These pleasures, we left undiscovered for another day to focus on the reason we had made this pilgrimage in the first place: crab.

Patrons seeking crab have three choices to make: size of crab (three options), preparation method (five options) and accompaniment (three options). The minimum order quantity serves two, and since there were six of us, we decided to share the Sri Lankan Murunga Leaf Crab Curry, Black Pepper Crab and Steaming Crab with dipping sauces, choosing the middle “large” crab option (approximately six inches across). As accompaniments, we chose to be traditional and basic: Crusty Kadé Paan with butter, Pol Sambol, Steamed rice and Dhal.

Along with four cokes and a couple of beers, the bill came to approximately Rs 3350 each. The quantities were enough to satisfy even the most acute of crab cravings.

The quality of the meal was excellent. After the versions at the former Sea Anglers’ Club in Trincomalee and the occasional Sunday lunch with family, this was one of the tastiest and most authentic Murunga Crab Curries we have ever had.

The crab was succulent and tender. Not overdone, the flesh was firm and fresh and the flavours were strong, but not overpowering, balanced well to allow the natural taste of the crab to come through the spices, chili and murunga flavours. The gravy was thick and generously infused with murunga leaves. Soaked up with the crusty bread, the fine two-step dhal and pol sambol, it was absolute heaven. The pepper crab as well, was excellent, and well balanced. The steaming crab option is perhaps for a more subtle palate that is averse to the stronger spice content of the other options. Still, the flesh was perfectly done and the choice of six varied dipping sauces meant you could tailor your taste experience.

Location



Although the address is officially on Haig Road, it is on the corner with Marine Drive, facing the ocean, between Majestic City and Keells Super. It is above Don’s Café and on the same premises as Genghis, the Mongolian wok restaurant, from which menu you can also order.

It is an unassuming wooden structure, with soft lighting, tasteful décor and nice cutlery. It has tats to keep out the rain and is open to the sea breeze, with no fans or air-conditioning. Although at first we were concerned about the lack of fans, we did not find it uncomfortably hot, even in the middle of February. Also, the location is easily accessible and its proximity to the ocean adds to the experience of the seafood.

Service



The service was professional, as can be expected from one of the Don Stanley’s group of restaurants, which this is. There was some minor confusion about appropriate quantities and crab sizes before ordering, but this was sorted out with the waiter without too much of a fuss. A couple of unfinished Cokes were cleared away while some of us were away from the table washing fingers, but again, this was a minor detraction from an otherwise pleasing experience.

While we are on the topic: the hand-washing sink is behind the bar, which is not an ideal location for it. One of our diners desperately wanted to wipe her nose as she had the spice drips, but she didn’t want to cover her face with crab. Easily accessible finger bowls or a dedicated sink would be an improvement. They were not stingy with the accompaniments. They filled up the dhal bowl three times without hesitation or extra charge, which gets a big thumbs up from us.

Conclusion



I came away from the experience thinking: this place understands their crab. The official launch of the place is this Friday, after which they will extend their menu. Seafood fans should definitely go and explore!

*The management says that after Friday, 19th February, when they have their full launch, the menu will be extended to include more options.

TIP

“No fuss – Make a Mess.”

Address

53 Haig Road, Colombo 4

Directions

Heading from Kollupitiya, go south on Marine Drive. You'll pass the Bamba rail station and Majestic City (Station Road). It's the fourth street after that.

Contacts

E-Mail Website

Report Inaccuracy

Open 5-7 PM (wine and beer), 7 -10:30 PM (dining), Weekends also open for lunch (12:30 PM to 3 PM)

Cuisine

Sri Lankan

Price Range

More than Rs.1500

Dish Types

Seafood Crab

Ratings Breakdown

Overall Rating
4
Quality Rating
4
Service Rating
3
Ambience Rating
3
User Reviews
S
1

1/5

0

Sleepingstation

L

Disappointing!!! waste of money! Not to be repeated
After reading excellent reviews, we were promptly outside at 6pm. Restaurant opens at 6:10pm.
We were seated at a table and then asked to get up from there as it was reserved! Not a problem as food was supposed to be the best in Colombo.
Location: Sea-view (if pre-booked). railway track with train passing every 30-40 minutes( for us it was twice). Electricity went off thrice in our 1.5 hr stay.
Food: manager introduced himself and we were impressed. I wanted to order 1 extra large crab from fresh ( for both of us to share) but as my wife wanted individual ones we took advice of the manager and ordered 2 large. I queried whether these would be fresh or from frozen. He explained one can hardly notice the difference between fresh and frozen ones. On his advice, we ordered 1 Sri Lankan curry and 1 spicy Negombo sauce devilian crab.
Dishes came in 30min. Crab size appeared small with not much meat. Meat was stuck to the bones and would not come out! Pick was not given until I asked for it. Negombo was very tasty (well, the mixture was great, but hardly any meat) but Sri Lankan curry was horrible with loads of gravy probably 200times more than what is as required- not tasty at all.
We observed most diners were ordering fresh extra large crabs and as we were struggling to get meat out we asked one of the waiters as to why we had been dissuaded to order the fresh one. He replied these were 1kg = 9000 Sri Lankan rupees. But we never suggested that we would be unhappy with the price. He referred us to the manager. Manager came who was very dismissive and tried explaining that these crabs which we had ordered were 500g each and was not sure why we were complaining of meat stuck to the bones.
Anyway we finished food with rice gravy dal and bits of crab meat.
Just as we were leaving, my wife noticed trays of crabs (other diners’ orders) coming out of the kitchen. These were ‘large’ looking and she asked one of the waiters what size were they? He confirmed they were large. So surely ours were medium. However, we were then reminded that ours were not fresh. Fresh or frozen, surely 500g should look similar!
Moral of the story: please do your homework before you to such places and don’t waste 7950 rupees on rice, bread and gravy. Better try another place !!

19th April meal at 7pm.
We have had crab yesterday at Taj - Shack restaurant- heavenly

Regards

J

S
2

1/5

0

Shehan Don Talagala

As the previous user said, it's way overpriced for the average quality they offer. Much better value can be had at The Ocean (Kingsbury) or The Lagoon (Cinnamon Grand) and obviously with significantly better quality.
The wait staff are pushy and always trying to jack up the bill. This gets worse when they see a group of foreigners and will keep pestering you to order the more expensive items like lobster. It's a total tourist trap.

S
1

1/5

0

Sleepingstation

L

Disappointing!!! waste of money! Not to be repeated
After reading excellent reviews, we were promptly outside at 6pm. Restaurant opens at 6:10pm.
We were seated at a table and then asked to get up from there as it was reserved! Not a problem as food was supposed to be the best in Colombo.
Location: Sea-view (if pre-booked). railway track with train passing every 30-40 minutes( for us it was twice). Electricity went off thrice in our 1.5 hr stay.
Food: manager introduced himself and we were impressed. I wanted to order 1 extra large crab from fresh ( for both of us to share) but as my wife wanted individual ones we took advice of the manager and ordered 2 large. I queried whether these would be fresh or from frozen. He explained one can hardly notice the difference between fresh and frozen ones. On his advice, we ordered 1 Sri Lankan curry and 1 spicy Negombo sauce devilian crab.
Dishes came in 30min. Crab size appeared small with not much meat. Meat was stuck to the bones and would not come out! Pick was not given until I asked for it. Negombo was very tasty (well, the mixture was great, but hardly any meat) but Sri Lankan curry was horrible with loads of gravy probably 200times more than what is as required- not tasty at all.
We observed most diners were ordering fresh extra large crabs and as we were struggling to get meat out we asked one of the waiters as to why we had been dissuaded to order the fresh one. He replied these were 1kg = 9000 Sri Lankan rupees. But we never suggested that we would be unhappy with the price. He referred us to the manager. Manager came who was very dismissive and tried explaining that these crabs which we had ordered were 500g each and was not sure why we were complaining of meat stuck to the bones.
Anyway we finished food with rice gravy dal and bits of crab meat.
Just as we were leaving, my wife noticed trays of crabs (other diners’ orders) coming out of the kitchen. These were ‘large’ looking and she asked one of the waiters what size were they? He confirmed they were large. So surely ours were medium. However, we were then reminded that ours were not fresh. Fresh or frozen, surely 500g should look similar!
Moral of the story: please do your homework before you to such places and don’t waste 7950 rupees on rice, bread and gravy. Better try another place !!

19th April meal at 7pm.
We have had crab yesterday at Taj - Shack restaurant- heavenly

Regards

J

S
2

1/5

0

Shehan Don Talagala

As the previous user said, it's way overpriced for the average quality they offer. Much better value can be had at The Ocean (Kingsbury) or The Lagoon (Cinnamon Grand) and obviously with significantly better quality.
The wait staff are pushy and always trying to jack up the bill. This gets worse when they see a group of foreigners and will keep pestering you to order the more expensive items like lobster. It's a total tourist trap.

C
2

2/5

0

chamzangeleyes

Went there yesterday for dinner,was a quiet nite wz few ppl,we ordered a murugaun crab wz bread….a large (which is enough for 2 as per the staff)& 2 strawberry mojito when it came to the table….it lookd really small…and a loaf of bread(i didnt go there to eat bread)so we orderd a another large……it was the same……the crab is really overpriced, 3200 per large potion….which is clearly not enough for 2…and the juices n cocktails r over priced to….675 for a strawberry mohito(mind u it a virgin)finally d bill came to around 8500….and its wz a service charge too.which i think is clearly a rip off……crab was tasty……but portion size needs real improvement……i will not go ther……again……or recommend……its not all worth d price u pay for a small spider crab……

See 28 Comments