Spaghetti Crab is Adelaide's first one-dish, pop-up restaurant and in only four weeks, it's made a real name for itself. Right now, a group of veteran Adelaide restaurateurs, including Vic and Carmela Ventura and the team behind Ruby Red Flamingo, are working on this very different style of restaurant on O'Connell Street. The only dish is spaghetti crab. For drinks, there's one red and one white wine, one prosecco, water, lemonade, and chinotto to select from. Dessert? Peter's Drumstick. With a menu like this, the execution has got to be perfect. The place is full most of the time, so I'd say they've got it right.
Vic Ventura and his long-time friend and front of house man, George Belperio, are on hand to direct the warm, friendly and efficient service. There might be only one dish but ordering it is easy and fun. The owners and staff here are enjoying themselves and it shows.
Carmela's secret 50-year-old recipe of freshly cooked local blue swimmer crabs drenched in a thick and crave-worthy tomato sauce is served over a heap of perfectly cooked local San Remo spaghetti. The only sides are fresh chopped chilli and soft crusty bread. They're very plain but very effective. The extra helping of that beautiful tomato sauce in a little saucepan just begs to be devoured by spooning it over everything. It sounds so simple but adds up to the kind of unique food experience that only experts can provide.
Eating spaghetti crab is a hands-on experience but you'll get a fork each, a crab-cracker to share, and bamboo skewers to help wrest the delicious meat from the shell. Water bowls, shell bowls, paper table covers, refresher towels, and plenty of serviettes are on hand. Making a mess is the order of the day here. They give you a cheesy looking plastic bib to wear so you can crack and slurp away with gusto without fear of ruining your clothes.
I reckon they could've offered South Australian wines as their 'list', but the Italian selection went with the food and is probably more representative of the Italian family dinner table vibe.
Frequent Adelaide diners will recognise the design cues from when the venue was Beach Bum Hawaiian Kiosk, now moved to Brighton. It's a little cold right now for the outside tables but there are heaps of cosy tables inside.
Spaghetti Crab is open Tuesday to Saturday 5.30 pm until late. They take some online bookings up until six o'clock on weeknights to Thursday night. The rest of the time it's walk-in only.
The staff and owners are adamant that they'll only be delivering this dish here, and only for a short time. Hurry up and get a seat because Spaghetti Crab is only going to be around for a few more weeks!