MINISTRY OF CRAB
Updated: May 11, 2019
Crab and prawn cuisine
Hype. Hoopla. Awards. Crowned Srilankas “best restaurant 4 times in a row. Ranked 35thbest in Asia 2019, Maestro Dharshan Munidasa’s “Ministry of crab” finally opened two months ago in Mumbai. Having had many a magnificent meal at the Colombo flagship, I was apprehensive about it’s Mumbai debut. Can the same high standard of live Mud crab be maintained? Will the fluffy woodfired Srilankan “kade” bread be as addictive? And wont the Mumbai vegetarian be disappointed? The Colombo MOC has only veg side dishes. It offers only three desserts and we Mumbaikars have a sweet tooth. In short, Is there hope behind the hype?
BOOKED & COOKED
This is the first time that my ploy ( of my assistant booking in a fake name) did not work. Reason? Since we were six diners, they insisted my assistant give credit card details. That would’ve given my name away. So we cancelled. We tried reserving many a time later, but it was all booked up. And much later just two of us booked there. Under a fake name. Ofcourse!
Majestic. Housed in a tall stand alone corner building in Khar. A glamorous highceilinged space with arched glass windows. A sweeping staircase takes you upto the mezzanine bar. On the ground floor the show kitchen takes centre stage. Railings and fluting, wallpaper and mirrors are art deco-inspired. Kudos to Basrai for the artful use of tropical woody natural materials
Go on. Get ready to make slurping noises, put on your bib and crack that perfectly cooked crab bathed in (my favourite) bold lusty pepper sauce.
Take your pick ( Crabs sizes, small, medium, half a kilo, XL, the OMG and 2kg Crabzilla.) Pair it with pepper sauce, olive oil and chilli, soy, or garlic butter and do lick your fingers, every now and then.
My other addiction is the Prawnzilla served in a glistening pool of the bold garlic chilli sauce.
Appetiser? Go for the crab salad scooped into a luscious avocado with a whisper of wasabi, perfect Crab cakes with raw mango sweet chutney. Must ask for the baked crab risotto, a masterly balance of texture and flavour.
Vegetarians, youre in luck, delicious Coastal Indian dishes infused with coconut ( Goan curry with baby aubergine, mangalorean gassi) japanese style stir fried greens too. Keep space for a happy ending… “story of cocoa” . brilliantly presented in a giant cocoa bean pregnant with
bitter chocolate mousse and coconut gel. Equally good is the deconstructed spongy version of French Toast
sparkled with sago pearls and burnt butter icecream. Superb vegan icecreams and signature granitas too.
Crabzilla was not available when we dined there. Kade bread baked in an Irani bakery did not match up to its Srilankan counter part. Singapore Chilly crab sauce needed it’s sweetness to be toned down.
Lacklustre vegetarian ishtew and an oversweet Black pearl dessert were the other minus points.
Peel away the hype, take away the highprofile cricketing legends partners with chef Dharshan Munidasa) and what do we get? A seriously great restaurant dedicated to using only the highest quality of wild caught, even-clawed lagoon crab. Only live fresh crabs are used. And this shows in the glistening sweetness enhanced by the perfect cooking of each crab (no matter which sauce you pick, it has oomph). Vegetarians are taken care of, as are those with a sweet tooth. My apprehension of maestro Chef Dharshan Munidasa not being present in Mumbai is proved base less by the brilliant young chef Jerry Simon Thomas who ensures consistency in quality and recipe. Except for a few dishes which disappoint MOC Mumbai more than claws it’s way to meet up to expectations. Be ready to shell out high prices for stratospheric quality. After all, we are in a three-levelled, high-ceilinged glamorous crab heaven.
MINISTRY OF CRAB
442, Chitrakar Dhurandar Marg, 14th Rd, Khar West
RATING FOOD 4 SERVICE 3.75 DÉCOR 4
Meal for two Rs 8000