The Fat Crab is one of the few crab-centric restaurants in Colombo. It's been over three years since our last visit to this place, and our experience this time was every bit as good as the last one.
Aside from crab, almost everything in their menu is seafood-based and the rest of the dishes are comprised of different meats like lamb, chicken, and beef, and also a few vegetarian options.
One does not simply walk into The Fat Crab to have anything other than crab, which is why we decided to opt for two of their most popular crab dishes - Spicy Negombo Devilled Crab (Rs. 3600) and Garlic Butter Crab (Rs. 3600).
If you haven't already been to The Fat Crab, ordering a crab-based meal here involves two steps.
1. Pick the size of the crab [medium - 350g each (Rs. 2800), large - 500g each (Rs. 3600), extra large - 800g and upwards (price depends on the weight of the crab)]
2. Pick the accompaniment option/carb
They usually use frozen crab for small and medium-sized crab based meals, but if you're getting an extra large sized crab, or make a special request, they make it from a batch of fresh crab (don't go for it unless you have some extra cash to spend).
Let's talk about the crab first. Fleshy, succulent and absolutely flavorsome, The Fat Crab uses export quality lagoon (mud) crabs which are grown in numerous lagoons in our island. Therefore, you actually get a very good amount of crab meat, instead of just shell.
Oozing with a strong spicy hit from a blend of pepper and chili flakes, the seasoning in this dish was a sublime experience of pleasure for our taste buds. There was a proper balance between spicy and sweet elements, and a subtle sour kick running through, while the added capsicum and carrots were flavorful components in the overall flavor.
It wasn't overly sweetened by a ton of sauces, so it's definitely not the average 'devilled' dish that one would normally come across in Colombo's many, many Chinese restaurants/bars.
You know you've got the right curry when you use all of your carbs to sweep through every inch of your plate, which is what exactly happened with our dhal curry. Licking your plate in a public place is bad table manners, so we gulped down every ounce of this deliciously creamy, well-spiced dhal curry with our kade paan. Here you actually get a whole paan gediyak, so there's plenty for everyone. The pol sambol was a delight too - spicy, with a hint of dehi ambul (freshly squeezed lime).
Featured here is the Garlic Butter Crab accompanied by Vegetable Fried Rice and Stir-fried Kan Kung. Garlic always makes a great combo with seafood, and this dish right here wasn't any exception. The crab was soaked in an insanely buttery, hearty and garlicky sauce which made for an explosion of flavors that we enjoyed in every mouthful.
With a solid smattering of thinly sliced carrots, spring onions, and freshly crushed pepper, the vegetable fried rice wasn't oily and tasted quite good.
The Fat Crab serves up a range of mocktails, juices, and also beer and wine. You can BYOB here for a corkage fee of Rs. 1000, and if you're getting tonic, it costs Rs. 225 and upwards.
We tried The Crab Snapper (Rs. 575), a mocktail concocted with raspberry syrup and ginger in a glass full of lime slices. Be sure to stir it up before you drink it because otherwise, all you'll taste would be the sweetness of the raspberry syrup, while the flavor of ginger is lying in the bottom half of the glass. It was a refreshing drink, and not overly sweet, with tiny hints of lime and ginger nicely seeping through. However, we found it little too pricey for Rs. 575.
We didn't encounter any problems regarding the service here. The waiters knew their way around the menu, gave recommendations according to our preferences, and quite efficient. They take around 20 minutes to prepare the dishes, which is acceptable as well.
The interior here hasn't changed a bit since our last visit. It's the same wooden tables and chairs, with the wall full of vintage movie posters. The view from here is of course spectacular, because you can catch glimpse of Bambalapitiya coastline, a few trains that pass by, and quite a bit of sea breeze, as well as a lot of natural light.
Crab cannot be enjoyed properly if you're keen on keeping your table manners, which is exactly why The Fat Crab has a motto that says “No fuss – Make a Mess.” So take that advice, use your hands all you want because there's no one here to judge you, and bask in this seafood goodness. It's probably not the first choice that comes to your mind when talking about crab, but it's definitely a less-expensive and good alternative option to satisfy your sudden crab cravings.
The Fat Crab is one of the few crab-centric restaurants in Colombo.
The Fat Crab on Marine Drive is well known for their seafood. They've also got a Mongolian section by the name of Genghis BBQ. We tried both of their offerings and they were pretty good.
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.