Crab Bar is different. Dedicated to seafood, the crabs and yabbies are live, straight from the tank and you do not have to sit on the sand. Crab Bar is a large restaurant with ample parking [sadly becoming a rarity in Bali] on a new popular food stretch, Jln. Batu Belig. The site was once the deserted Pavilion but is already much busier.
Whilst live muddies are the main attraction for many, there are other alternatives as well. There is little the kitchen can do to improve or destroy crustaceans, any damage is done on the holding tank by not feeding the crabs correctly, whereupon they effectively eat their own flesh and the claws instead of being tender and meaty are almost hollow. Crab Bar is constantly busy, the produce always fresh. The big difference between Crab Bar and most other places selling such product is the accompanying sauces, here they are all prepared in the kitchen and all are very special, even though some are strangely named.
Tom Yam Mayonnaise amused me but I had to admit that the resultant sauce was quite impressive as was the ?Balinese? sauce, yellowish-green in colour from its sweet basil base. Only a chef from Sulawesi could come up with a Balinese sauce that no Balinese had ever seen before, but this one is s good I could eat it on toast in the mornings. The Korean sauce combines a real Korean chilli paste with chilli oil, the very unusual Black Pepper Teriyaki finishes quite sweet but with a slight bite. The Tomato Tartar is nothing like tartar though it does have a small amount of mayonnaise added to the tomato chunks, chilli, onion and white of egg to give it some body, once again so good. Bangka Curry is from the island of that name, just off the coast of Sumatra, a delicate mild curry taste. Butter sauces can be garlic or Cajun.
Start with a range of very budget priced entrees; Crab Cakes [crumbed and done ?Thai style? with the tom yam mayonnaise], Calamari Strips [fried crispy, with the tomato tartar sauce for dipping], Mushroom Crab Balls [mushrooms, crab meat and cheese molded into a ball, dipped in a light batter and deep fried, served with tomato tartar] or Chicken Wings [?Korean style?]. The crab cakes were excellent and the mushroom & crab balls were so much better than they sounded, in fact very good.
The starters are so good and varied [as are the accompanying sauces] that my recommendation is to order a variety of same to share [all are served with 3-6 portions], as well as some Mantau [small Chinese bread scones] to break and dip in all the sauces.
There are basic salads and interesting soups. The Seafood Chowder consists of prawns, mussels and calamari whilst the Prawn and Tomato Soup is quite spicy with lime and chilli added. The up-market entrée is U.S. Oysters. They can be served hot [fried] or cold, with a variety of added sauces including a very Balinese topping of sambal matah [pictured].
Non-seafood mains include their Cheesy Chicken [chicken breast stuffed with smoked beef and cheese then breaded and fried], Ribs [500gm of beef ribs with butter rice and coleslaw] and the strangely named Pulled Beef Sandwich [beef stripped from the ribs and shredded] which is quite an Americanism for this Jakarta operation.
But the Crab Bar is all about crabs and other crustaceans. The mud crabs can be live [from Kalimantan and Papua] or imported from the USA [Dunganess, named after that Washington State bay from whence they came]. The Lobsters are imported from Canada. If you prefer crab legs then you can order a sole King Crab Leg.
Local seafood can be Clams, Prawns or those ever popular quite sweet Yabbies [split down the centre and grilled, so easy to pull the meat out with a fork, dipping in your selected sauce].
All the crustaceans can be ordered boiled, fried or smoked and are served with your choice of sauce, hot or cold.
Side dishes to be ordered separately can be the Chinese Mantau [steamed or fried], Corn on the cob, Potatoes [French fried or Cajun], Butter Rice or Sausage [beef chorizo].
Then there is Crab Bar?s Hot Bag and Cold Platter. The Hot Bag comprises mud crab, prawns, yabbies and clams, corn on the cob and a beef chorizo sausage. The Cold Platter includes Alaskan crab, prawns, clams and oysters.
Crab Bar provides a far better environment for seafood consumption than those beach settings that have historically been so popular with Bali tourists, and the modern clean kitchen allays any fears of a bad ending the following day.
A seafood feast to remember!