Saturday 13 July 2013

Review: Crab Shack, Baby, Crab Shack

If you see a faded sign by the side of the road, that says 15 miles to the Crab Shack! Crab Shack yeah! ~ modified from the B52's

My review posting needs a bit of a review.  I haven't posted any reviews in ages.  Over a whole year, would you believe?

Think it might be a combo of things: being a poor student again and not going out much, it being really tricky taking photos in a dim restaurant so fusspot me not being happy with the photos, and my long suffering husband getting all embarrassed at me taking too many pictures of meals.  What you would call first world problems.

So despite having lived in the Capital City for a fair six months, this is my very first Wellington review.  Outrageous.

But what better place to break my review dry-spell, than with the recently opened, Simon Gault owned, eating establishment: The Crab Shack.


The Crab Shack is a little old place where we can get togetherrrrr...sorry couldn't help myself...rather it is a bustling Cape Cod themed eatery with funky retro fittings and even funky hipster staff.  It's attached to the much fancier Shed 5 (also Simon Gault owned) on the picturesque Queens Wharf in Wellington.

I won't keep you in suspense *spoiler alert* I absolutely loved this place! Loved the food, loved the decor, loved pretty much everything about it. From the super cool lamp shades made out of craypots (aka lobster traps), right down to the pretty little silver-whatsits they give you to winkle out the delicious morsels of crab.  LOVE.

The menu is short and to the point, mostly seafood of course.  Since it was a Saturday afternoon and we were three ladies lunching, well really afternoon tea-ing, ahem ok ok, afternoon vino-ing, we only ordered a couple of dishes to share along with a few glasses of wine. 

We started off with the calamari and aoli.  A nice safe option.  The calamari was really well done - crisp, not too greasy and lovely and tender.  Could've easily scoffed the lot myself.

On recommendation from the friendly floppy haired waiter, we ordered what was to be the star of the show: a 1 kg pot of Nelson Paddle Crabs with chilli garlic butter.   The pot of crabs comes with a whole bunch of paraphernalia:  a little bucket of crab eating utensils, a finger pot of lemon water for washing, and a stack of serviettes.  Gotta love a dish with paraphernalia no?

{the star of the show}
We were lucky enough to have the chef bring out our crabs and show us how to use the utensilly things himselfAlas not the famous baby-faced Masterchef judge, but a handsome young chef who clearly had the hots for my two very gorgeous friends.  Perks of the job.

{all we saw of the masterchef judge}

However being shown how to use them by a pro does not necessarily mean that we mastered the skill.  Those crabs were fiddly little suckers. You had to crack the legs just so,  use the twiddly-whatsit to twizzle out the meat ever so delicately.   You end up with little tidbits of crab smothered with delicious garlicky butter, all over your face, hair, and table, some of it making it's way to your mouth.  So much delicious messy fun.

We ordered a side of bread to mop up all that amazing buttery goodness - this is a must both as a filler and so not to waste the deliciousness.  There are three crabs to a pot, cut in to halves and claws - enough for a nibble but not really for a meal.  Lip smackingly good but not for the faint hearted and most definitely not if you are ravenously hungry.

We finished off our meal with a round of sangrias in jars.  Fruity, spicy, and dangerously easy to drink, a perfect accompaniment for an evening of good yarns with old friends.

Rating: 4/5

At a glance

Shed 5
Queens Wharf, 6011

Opening hours: 

11:30am to late, 7 days a week.

Service: Funky friendly staff.  Attentive but not over bearing.  We even got 5 star service from the chef.

Setting: I'm a sucker for all things retro so loved it: the old maps, the driftwood tables, the craypot lanterns. Can get a little noisy when busy but great atmosphere.   Also, it's right on the waterfront so smack bang in the middle of town and offers a lovely setting to walk off a big meal.

Food:  Great to share.  The Paddle Crabs are absolutely delicious but be warned are fiddly and don't have a great amount of meat.  My friend has been there a couple of times when they have been out of paddle crabs so be prepared that they might not be available.  I have also heard that the linguine comes highly recommended.

Price:  Mains are in the $20-$30 price range: Pot of Nelson paddle crabs $25.00, Calamari with aoli $16.00, Chilli crab linguine pasta $26.00.  They also have loads of specials that run on specific days so check def out the website before you go:  

Overall: The Crab Shack is an awesome place for a casual seafood experience.  Funky and fun, can't wait to go back.


  1. I'm re-living those delicous crabs in your post. That garlic chilli coating was so yummy. We didn't get bread to mop that stuff up. It's hard not to suck the shells all over to garner every last crumb.

    1. How nommy was that place huh? I sneakily sucked the shells too! And used the heads as a scooper. I mean butter is delicious on a good day but by golly somehow they make it super amazing. You should totally fb me next time you're down and we should have a crab shack date! x

  2. love the decor! it looks like you had a great day. i will admit i love fish but not shellfish. but that calamari looks fab.

    1. I want my house to look like that place! I saw on the menu a mean as deal on buffalo wings that caught my eye which would be perfect for non-shellfish fans...

  3. Another huge fan of the d├ęcor. I always get far too intimidated going to swanky restaurants (not that I go very often!) but it's so refreshing to see a cool eatery like that. The food sounds so good, and the fun factor is a bonus. Would love to check it out some day. Your photos are amazing.

    1. I feel out of place in swanky restaurants too! Which fork? Where am I supposed to leave my napkin? Sooo much more at home in places like this one were you can get your hands in there you know what I mean? Would you believe the photos were from my iphone?! I was pleasantly surprised how well they turned out! :)

  4. Very nice crab recipe ...Awesome ..



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