Do you love seafood? How about crabs? There are many of us who love seafood delicacies, but stay miles away from crabs. Of course, crabs are messy to eat. They have hard shells to break, and very often, they do not allow us to be sophisticated eaters. Nevertheless, I love crabs. Although it takes some work to break them open, the result is entirely enticing. This is why I loved Ministry of Crab during my visit to Sri Lanka.
Ministry of Crab is located in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. Popular Sri Lankan cricketers, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara are the proud owners of this restaurant. They started this venture along with their partner and celebrity chef, Dharshan Munidasa. The team created a palette-neutral menu for the restaurant, so that tourists from all countries find their food attractive. This is one of the best restaurants in Colombo for tasting crabs and other seafood items. It is a restaurant that found a place in the list of Asia’s 50 best restaurants for several consecutive years. Ministry of Crab is located inside a colonial Dutch building. The restaurant interiors have a combination of traditional and contemporary designs.
What Makes Ministry of Crab Special?
Quality and variety of seafood items is what makes Ministry of Crab stand out from its counterparts. They believe in a no-freezer policy, and serve only fresh catch which they directly source from fishermen. When I visited the restaurant, I found everything unique and appealing. Right from the kitchen and the seafood ingredients to the display board for showing their menu, everything speaks of class! We can order crabs in different sizes ranging from half kilo small crabs to jumbo and colossal crabs. Hold your breath for the last of the list. It’s called Crabzilla! It will weigh a minimum of 2 kilos. I ordered a Crabzilla, no less. It was a feast for my tongue, although my pocket cried a little.
Apart from crabs, they have other seafood items such as prawns, lobsters and oysters. We get different versions of these, with pepper, garlic, chili or butter. The way they present the dishes is also praiseworthy. Crab shells and claws are neatly arranged in a tempting manner. They give all essential tools to break open the shells, and to extract the meat. All said, the restaurant policy recommends guests to dig into the crabs using their hands. Get your hands dirty, messy, and enjoy the taste. This policy suited me quite well, as I am not an expert with crab cutlery.
My Experience at Ministry of Crab Sri Lanka
I visited the Ministry of Crab with my friend, Afsal. Muditha, who is a culinary tour expert in Colombo, was also with us. When I entered their kitchen, the aroma was so utterly tempting! Crabs, lobsters, and prawns were all over different stoves. I ordered their biggest crab, the Crabzilla. They have only limited quantities of this item, so we need to book in advance for a Crabzilla. Muditha did it for us. Along with it, we ordered OMG Prawns and Crab Liver Pate. Buttery taste of the prawns tantalised my taste buds. For a starter, we tasted Crab Liver Pate, which was served with palm sugar syrup. Every dish was cooked to perfection.
I loved their policy of ‘freely use your hands.’ Here nobody frowns at messy hands and plates. We can thoroughly enjoy the crabs by sucking out the last drop of its juicy contents. If you are unsure about messing up your hands, they provide you utensils to take out the meat. Moreover, they serve bread along with crabs. So you can take a piece of bread, soak it in the crab gravy, and taste it mess-free. I did feel that their food items are expensive. A Crabzilla cost me 44,000 Sri Lankan rupees which was quite high.
With The Founder
I got a chance to talk to their founding partner, chef Dharshan. He explained to me his philosophy behind the starting of this restaurant. According to him, the finest quality crabs from Sri Lanka were exported to other countries in the past. He wished part of them to remain in Sri Lanka, to be served to the Sri Lankans as well as tourists. This justifies the high price, I felt. This restaurant is highly popular with the Indians touring to Sri Lanka. A branch of Ministry of Crab was recently opened in Mumbai.
Do read about my experience with stilt fishing in the beaches of Sri Lanka.