Fancy hosting your next event at a London restaurant that specialises in Red King Crab? Mike Fletcher heads to Fancy Crab for lunch.
If you incorporate the word ‘fancy’ into the name of your venue, you need to be pretty confident that it’ll live-up to the billing.
So when my wife and I were invited to lunch at Fancy Crab on Wigmore Street in London’s West End, I accepted in part to discover what was so fancy about a restaurant that specialises in crab meat, and partly because Fancy Crab is one of a trawler’s net full of restaurants to recently sign-up to Venuefinder.com (any excuse to welcome a new member, especially if there’s tasty treats on the menu!).
I’m sure my wife simply saw an opportunity to hit the West End shops and combine a bit of Easter retail therapy with a fancy lunch. There’s that word again. Would it be the lunch that was fancy or the venue?
I did invite her by saying ‘do you fancy crab?’ However, the name over the door of the restaurant doesn’t possess a question mark so it’s definitely referring to the fanciness of something.
As it turns out, red king crab - the crab meat that Fancy Crab is famous for - is in fact the most coveted of the commercially sold king crab species and is the most expensive per unit weight (thanks Wikipedia!).
It’s also particularly difficult to catch apparently. Fancy Crab’s humble boast that it has been harvesting fully sustainable, wild and never farmed red king crab since 1993 therefore, isn’t simply just about setting out its environmental credentials. It’s also staking a genuine claim to seafood royalty that fisherman risk life and limb (presumably fingers) to catch.
For sure, this is the fanciest of the crabs and it tastes really good too.
On receiving a text from Oxford Street at the time of our table booking which read, ‘just buying a skirt, be there in a bit’, I ordered the Crispy King Crab Bites to tide me over.
These canapé-sized bites are great conversation starters so would be an ideal addition to a private reception menu.
The talking point is the crunchy fish-skin cracker that carries the king crab like I imagine Daenerys Targaryen will be carried onto the Iron Throne in the final season of Game of Thrones (bookies currently offering odds of 2:1 at time of writing).
When my lunch guest finally arrived, and after we’d had the conversation about how something made from fish skin could be so tasty and crunchy at the same time, we ordered two starters from the Raw Bar (the scallop ceviche and the salmon tartare).
These beautifully presented dishes were followed by Fancy Crab’s two most popular mains - the king crab burger which was succulent and tasty, plus the Singapore chilli crab, which had just the right amount of heat to allow you to appreciate the generous portion of crustacean.
The truth about Fancy Crab is that the staff are welcoming, the atmosphere is relaxed, the food is divine and there’s no live crabs awaiting their fate in tanks like in other fancy fish restaurants.
Actually, the fact that it’s not really that fancy only makes it more appealing as a casual seafood dining experience and the perfect place to host everything from laid-back corporate lunches to private dinners and receptions.
Its fanciness is in the crab and the imaginative number of ways in which they serve it. I will definitely be back to try them all.
By Mike Fletcher