Situated in the basement of the Newmarket Hotel on Acland Street, the sister shack to the Sydney venue opened last month with minimal updates to the dated interior. Surprisingly, this kind of works, with groups perfectly seated in the plush, velvet-upholstered booths to enjoy intimate dinners.
The walls and ceiling are covered in a mismatch of quirky 8-bit animated crabs and nautical décor including beach umbrellas and fishing nets, and the floor is the original Turkish pattern. The overall effect is a bit like a seasick interior designer chundered out a nautical museum and a burlesque parlour (although I think they were hinting at their Southern-style, American roots).
With an island-inspired cocktail menu bigger than my arm, our group of five started with Mai Tai's. We let the waiter recommend a handful of entrées along with a 'surprise' starter that ended up being a pig's head pate (nope).
When they arrived, our waiter dumped them out of their butter-filled bags straight into the middle of our paper tablecloth-covered table and told us to smash on some gloves and a bib and get cracking.
My favourite was easily the Alaskan King Crab, which was very sweet, crabby and meaty. The Singapore sauce was probably the spiciest of the 5 sauces provided – creole, Cajun, spicy malay, Singapore and lemon pepper – although the Cajun had a bit of a kick.
We also enjoyed the Coleslaw and the Smashed Corn (complete with crumbed doritos!) and a side of fries. Keep in mind that there are no plates – you just scoop your side straight out of the bowl and eat it off your patch of table.
For dessert, we shared the two options available: Passionfruit Ice cream Sandwich and the Chocolate Sundae. Both were tasty, although the Chocolate Sundae was a clear winner with peanut ice cream offsetting the chocolate brownie perfectly. I don't know what it is about peanuts and chocolate, but damn.
Overall, it was a really fun way to spend the night getting drunk and dirty with friends over dinner. I somehow came away without having spilled anything on myself, which is a feat in itself. A little on the gimmicky side of things, but worth it for something different.