Food loving, wine addicted film critic working 72hrs a day :) You can suss my film blog at www.saltypopcorn.com and my food one at www.sydneytable.com
Published June 26th 2011
What a sensational night out we all had for our good friend, Alison's birthday. The venue was Harry's Singapore Chilli Crabs on the corner of Elizabeth and Campbell Streets Sydney - not far from Central Station.
There were 30 of us for our large group of crustacean feasters, and feast we did. They managed to make a huge table in a room for us right near the kitchen. The table was so tight that if you sat on the corners, it was quite possible you had waiters breathing in to get past you and lifting plates over your head. No damage caused, so all good. The costs for our meals worked out well. $50 a head with a $5 per bottle corkage fee - all 30 people just budgeted $55, and we were well and truly sorted. The bonus was that it was BYO and all of us wine addicts were well prepared.
We started with some standard San Choy Bow, which was exactly as you would imagine, and then we moved on to some divine salt and pepper squid - bloody loved it.
Then we moved on to a delicious chicken dish that was cooked in a sweet chilli based sauce and it was nice and spicy. I am hoping I do not forget a dish, but it's quite possible, you could say I ended up legless after QF shots at the Burdekin at midnight. But the next dish was sensational and the dish that has made Harry's worldwide famous - his Singapore Chilli Mud Crab.
World renowned for quality, the Queensland Mud Crab is delivered directly from several fishermen; this together with the consistent quality cooking of live seafood, and regional Asian cuisine, has placed Harry's Singapore Chilli Crab Restaurant on the world map.
This place is dripping in awards and reviews from around the world and deservedly so - it is not a modern gourmet experience - it is a put on your plastic apron meal and get your face covered in an ear to ear grin of sauce. I actually complained we couldn't all be sitting on the same side of the table with dogs sitting on the floor in front of the table so we could throw all the scraps to them; I wanted a medieval feasting with the works - I wanted to belch and spill wine and clang goblets.
I have one gripe about the crab - the portions weren't big enough. What we ate was a dish from heaven - crab being one of my favourite things to eat, but having to share a chilli mud crab with three other people nearly had me jousting with them for a larger portion. Besides that it was sensational. A lot of it was pre cut up and all you had to do was crush the claws if you wanted to suck out the further goodness. I really wanted more of the meat and would love to go back there with one other person on a date and share the feast between the two of us.
Following this we were served some greens in what I think was oyster sauce and these were yummy. They were also joined by plentiful plates of Moreton Bay Bugs which I had never eaten before. Very much giant prawns who have mated with baby lobsters. The flesh was plentiful and as they were dissected for us the flesh was easy to pull out. I do think these were very bland on flavouring though but the flesh was sweet and enjoyable - I would have liked some chilli in these but palate wise, after the mud crabs, this was a cleansing crustacean.
This was a fun meal and a fun venue for a fun night. It is a venue you can have lots of said fun and get rowdy if you want, or sit in a quiet part of the venue and eat excess of delightful food that is cooked well. It is not "the place to be seen" it is the place to enjoy yourself with no pretentiousness.