The sight of this bright siren red, not to mention the gigantic size of this crustacean species is enough to make anyone go weak in the knees.
This unique species known as the Australian Spanner Crab is definitely not meant for the weak-hearted and can be quite a catch to be found here, but it is definitely close to most of the local Australians' hearts.
This resident crab hails from the Land Down Under; with obvious signs indicated in the name itself and is commonly found along the eastern to the southern part of the coastal waters in the region.
From Queensland to Nowra in New South Wales, it is a familiar species and even a popular favorite among the Australian folks.
While commonly found in Australia, its presence here definitely deserves the spotlight and that was exactly the star role it landed on the menu of Manhattan Fish Market recently as one of the highlighted dish.
At a whopping price of only MYR39.90, it sounded reasonable and just too good for the crab lovers out there; especially for the adventurous ones (after all, the sight of the crab is there to tell you what you're expecting).
The photo of the crab on the promotional poster poised against the easel at the entrance of the shop was a visual concept to prepare the diners of this crab, but still, it did nothing to halt that big 'O' opening of our mouths when the dish finally arrived.
The crab did not come alone and along its arrival are its companions in the form of the accompanying sauce.
A choice of a light buttery sauce or the fiery spicy sambal gravy, the dressing sauces are there to enhance the dining experience and the taste of the crabby flesh.
The tools to get the crab cracked open are definitely not forgotten; along with a bowl of water with a slice of lemon for one to rinse their hands with after all the hard work.
That is indeed thoughtful, and that lemon gives the hands a citrusy scent to dispel the strong and distinctive smell from the crabs itself.
(You'd know what I mean :-)
A glimpse of the flesh
The accompanying spicy sauce did a better job in masking the slightly frozen taste of the flesh; temporarily blinding the thought that this was indeed air flown into our country from another country.
However, the sambal sauce was definitely a strong reminder of our local tastes and I really mean that it was spicy!
Crabs tend to take a longer time to consume, or enjoy and therefore, when dining with the crabs, it takes a lot more patience and of course, when you are just in the mood backed with the leisure/luxury of time on hand.
I don't mind crabs, well, at least when they are peeled, to be honest *grins* and I need my crabs to be really, really fresh.
The Australian Spanner Crab may be the star of the meal, but the Grilled Salmon with Black Pepper Sauce (MYR24.90) made its way to our table too, courtesy of yours truly who just needed a fix of salmon that day.
Served with fresh and boiled vegetables alongside mashed potatoes drenched with the black pepper sauce where the salmon fillet is plopped on top, complete with a tiny flag of Manhattan Fish Market, this looked pretty appetizing for a start.
However, I was a little disappointed that the salmon fillet, while stunningly succulent in appearance turned out to be too overly well done to my liking.
Perhaps I was just too particular with the way my salmon is to taste like, but I am not a fan of dry and harsh textures of the flesh when it comes to a rich fish like salmon.
The starter we ordered; the Ocean's Gem (MYR10.90) which was a combination of an assortment of seafood drizzled with a tantalizing sourish dressing on a bed of fresh greens was definitely the winner of the day.
Juicy fresh prawns and scallops, mixed with the crunchy variety of sliced carrots, capsicums, cucumbers, lettuces and cabbages, raisins and marinated onion slices make up the triumphant dish and one just can't get enough of the portion.
To quench that thirst and soothe the senses, the Sunset by The Bay (MYR9.90) is one good choice.
A bold mix of Early Grey Tea with tiny bits of peaches, graced by that slice of lemon by the side to give it that extra zesty kick is truly irresistible.
It has been a while I have been to this restaurant and I have almost forgotten the wonderful varieties of seafood; especially fish that they have here.
I am reminded of them now, and I crab you not, that I am thinking of my order on my next visit :-)