You can tell a lot about a restaurant by the accessories you’re given – a very upmarket joint in Shanghai provided us with two sets of chopsticks, one for picking food up from shared plates and another for eating with, while a plush New York seafood outfit provided separate stools for handbags. None of which makes the food taste any better of course. At the Crab House Café in Wyke Regis you know it’s all about the crab when you’re given a hammer, bib and bucket…
With the wind, rain and snow finally relenting and giving way to some much needed Spring sunshine, we enjoyed a walk in West Dorset, heading out of pretty Abbotsbury and up to an inland section of the South West coast path overlooking Chesil Beach. With the Crab House Café showcasing locally sourced seafood including oysters from beds a stone’s throw from the restaurant a wander along the coast is the perfect way to work up an appetite.
Situated on the Portland coast at the Western end of Chesil Beach, the Crab House Café is at the water’s edge and has a relaxed, seaside feel with plenty of outdoor space to enjoy. Service is extremely welcoming with a deep understanding of the menu and good recommendations.
Having seen the Royal Portland oysters being hosed down outside the restaurant, minutes from being brought out of the sea, they seemed the natural choice for me to start. Plump, silky, creamy with a hit of tabasco and shallot vinegar, the freshness of the oysters was obvious and helped along with a generous helping of sea air. Sarah’s scallops were baked on the shell and the sweetness of the scallop went well with the rich wild garlic butter and gentle acidity and heat of preserved lemons.
With the recent bad weather the Portland crab haul had been more limited and the usual 750g or so crabs had proved elusive with only some giants of the sea found at 1.5kg+. I was sensibly steered towards a half crab which I had with the simple preparation (rather than spicy Chinese) with mayonnaise and a green salad. With bib on and implements in hand this is food for eating and enjoying and terrifying the neighbouring tables with the thunder of hammer head on claw. Despite its gargantuan size, the crab yielded beautifully delicate meat which, with a dab of mayonnaise and pillow soft rustic bread made for a perfect open crab sandwich.
From the specials board, Sarah had lemon sole with a tangy crabmeat and coastal cheddar stuffing. With the richness of the sole and stuffing, the accompanying new potatoes and spring greens (leeks, cauliflower, courgettes, broad beans and spring cabbage) were deliciously simple. Also from the specials board, we shared roasted cauliflower with anchovy crumbs, a delightful mix of crunch, bitterness and saltiness and one of your 5 a day.
Although the dessert menu looked interesting with highlights including dark chocolate tart with sour cherries and Chantilly cream and a Dorset apple cake, we settled for a scoop of salted caramel Purbeck ice cream and an exceptional coffee. We’ll definitely explore the dessert menu next time.
Whether you’re enjoying the traditional Weymouth seafront, hiking the coast path or tracing Edward and Florence’s footsteps from “On Chesil Beach”, The Crab House Café is well worth a visit.
Crab House Café™
Dorset DT4 9YU
t: 01305 788 867
|Invited by PR company?||No|
|Guest of chef/restaurant/owner?||No|
|Restaurant/outlet knew ahead we were bloggers?||No|
|Was the meal complimentary from the restaurant?||No|
|Any complimentary items provided by restaurant/outlet?||No|