Cracking down at the Deckhouse Crabshack and BBQ
If you’re planning a first date, The Deckhouse Crab Shack & BBQ might not be the place… unless you’re really trying to test the mettle of your new beau that is. This is not the place to oogle over fine-dining foams and paintbrushed smears, no, this is a place to get in and get dirty, to have sauce from ear to ear and to explore the meaning of being ‘in it up to your elbows’.
The Deckhouse Crabshack brings something new to the foodie scene in Cape Town – don your plastic bib, order up and get stuck in, there really is no other way to enjoy this kind of food. The menu mimics an American-style crab shack, where the portions are big, the flavours are bold and the atmosphere is convivial and unpretentious. Set in a well-known spot on Kloof Street, it has a lovely outdoor deck with views of Table Mountain. The decor is beachy and includes some cool touches like the sofas made from boat halves and whitewashed tables and chairs. It’s light, fresh and fun.
The menu is quite extensive, but the friendly staff on hand will help you to make a choice. For my Pescetarian dining partner, it was a bit like Christmas with so many yummy seafood choices on offer. Of course, because of the restaurants American-style BBQ theme, options also include ribs, chicken wings and a few other meaty dishes, but the seafood is the hero. Diners will find the local seafood fairly priced and if you’re a fan of crab, well, this is the place to have it.
We started off with the shrimp popcorn, which will definitely become a house favourite – crispy balls of shrimp, deep-fried to golden perfection, served in a rustic bucket, they are the ideal table snack to pass around and they disappeared fast. We also opted to try the Blue Swimmer Pepper Crab served in an Indonesian pepper sticky sauce, as our first foray into the bib-wearing hall of fame. These are quite tricky little suckers to navigate, but once you get the hang of it, it is a lot of fun to find the right joint to crack to find that little jewel of meat and to slurp it out, sticky sauce and all. It’s quite a lot of work, but fun nonetheless and seeing your dining partner with sticky sauce from ear to ear is very entertaining.
After the starters, we enjoyed a slew of other dishes which included Jim Beam basted chicken wings and baby back ribs which had big, smokey flavour – served with those was a slice of homemade pumpkin pie which was just sublime, southern corn bread and, of course, sweet and buttery corn on the cob, which all complete the crab shack feel.
The piece de résistance was the mixed bucket – a variety of premium seafood including mussels, prawns, a crayfish tail and the centre of attention, a beautiful snow crab leg. Delivered to the table complete with cracking implement, it was time to roll up the sleeves and get into it. The snow crab is quite easily cracked and the meat inside is really beautiful – sweet, succulent and yum. It is quite easy to remove from the shell and really is a treat.
After a mountain of food, and a very necessary clean down, we enjoyed a coffee and a slice of heavenly Mississippi Mud Pie – a chocolate base topped with chocolate cake and chocolate pudding. It is layer upon layer of velvety, chocolately indulgence.
The Deckhouse is a place to go to enjoy big food, big flavour, to hang with friends and to enjoy a unique dining experience. Go with the right attitude, and expect to get stuck in and to enjoy this fun and down-to-earth style of eating.
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