Eating crab is often a messy affair and requires a lot of effort to crack open for just a little morsel of gastronomical gratification. As such, whenever I choose to order crab, the taste had better be worth my energy to peel and devour it. Over the past few decades, I have repeatedly tried several crab dishes at various famous local seafood restaurant establishments such as Melben Seafood, Jumbo Seafood, Long Beach Seafood, as well as Palm Beach Seafood, which is widely credited for originating and inventing the chilli crab dish.
However, the standards at most of these establishments are inconsistent at best and have unfortunately been steadily declining over the years. The probable causes for the notable drop in standards are that these famous eateries have been resting on their laurels and riding off their historical reputations. This makes room for a new kid on the block to knock my socks off.
After 7 years of being a private dining chef, dapperly dressed Elton Seah opened up Holy Crab together with fellow foodie entrepreneur Jamie Lim in a quaint little shop house along the charming and centrally located Tan Quee Lan street. The cozy and unpretentious restaurant sits 24 people, and serves up inventive dishes that have creative puns and whimsical monikers such as Oh My Cod, Wheel Clam, CapriCorn, etc. Driven by a mission to bring the eponymous Singapore-style crab to the next level, there is something for every avid crustacean lover at Holy Crab.
The first dish that I sampled was a savoury appetiser Oriental Bacon (S$15) which consists of crispy pork belly chunks that have been marinated in shrimp paste and then deep fried with curry leaves. The dish was perfectly paired and washed down with a glass of warm sugar free home-brewed lemongrass infusion (S$3.50) or freshly squeezed calamansi lime juice (S$3.50).
Next up was a steamy plate of Scorched Vermicelli/ Chao Tar Bee Hoon (S$15) with egg, squid, shrimp, pork belly and veggies. The blackened dish was topped with a burnt calamansi lime and sliced chilli. My first instinct when I saw and smelt the unappetising looking burnt dish was “So chao tar, nice meh?”, but my prejudgment was immediately proven wrong. The combination of tastes somehow just works and blends harmoniously together. The inventive and imaginative chef Elton experimented many times to get just the right amount of crispy and burnt flavours. This dish is certainly the dark horse on the restaurant’s cool and funky looking menu.
Finally, it was time for the star of the show…. the chef’s signature Green Mumba Crab ($9/100g; minimum 900g) was piquant and had the right amount of zesty spice without being overpowering to the palette. The thick and delectable green sauce comprises bold tasting Asian herbs such as coriander, chilli, galangal, etc. Even my American friend visiting Singapore for the very first time emphatically approved and was squealing with delight.
Needless to say, I will definitely be coming back for more in the future. I also made a mental note to bring along my discerning mother with me the next time. If the ultimate Singaporean crab dish is what you desire, then look no further for Holy Crab is truly second to none.
2 Tan Quee Lan Street
Tel: +65 8444 2722