Sunday 19 November 2017

Fish in the key

Herself and Brendan took the scenic route down to Waterford, and boy, was Lucinda O'Sullivan glad that they did. The fare on offer at the Crazy Crab Seafood Bistro & Cafe in pretty Kilmore Quay just blew her away with its quantity, quality and value

It's not very often you leave a restaurant awarding it, in your own mind, two badges of distinction -- Best Seafood Platter in Ireland and Best Value Seafood in Ireland. This is how we felt having left the new Crazy Crab Seafood Bistro & Cafe at Kilmore Quay, Co Wexford.

We were on our way down to Waterford Castle for a dinner recreating the Sixties' menu by Princess d'Ardia Caracciola -- an amazing feat of skill and flair by chef Michael Quinn.

Anyway, travelling the scenic route via Wexford, we were heading down to the little ferry from Ballyhack across to Passage East and we diverted for a spot of lunch at Kilmore Quay. There is something lovely about the sheer ruralness of this part of Co Wexford, and Kilmore Quay is so pretty with all of its thatched roofs.

The Crazy Crab is a deceptively ordinary harbourside building located beside Kilmore Fish. It has a couple of steps up to the door, and a porthole on each side, but inside it's a revelation: modern, contemporary and smart in an informal-cafe way, with nice paintings.

The menu, too, with its jaunty red crab beaming out, proved to be an eye-opener, proclaiming: "Welcome to Crazy Crab -- a real taste of Kilmore Quay." It sure was. "Light & Tasty" offered feta cheese salad at €4.95, and Kilmore Quay fish cakes with a green salad and fresh salsa at €6.

Then it got into the serious stuff. Local prawns (langoustines) of your choice at €7.80 offered a classic cocktail with Marie Rose sauce, or you could have them pan-fried in garlic butter. Likewise, local crab of your choice at €7.95 was a crabmeat cocktail or crab claws in garlic butter, while Kilmore Quay scallops were €7.50. What entirely blew us away was the quantity, quality and value at the Crazy Crab. Brendan ordered a crabmeat cocktail, which proved to be a large sundae dish overflowing with divine, fresh crabmeat, which was topped with a crab claw and Marie Rose sauce.

He ploughed through it, and it is not often you can say that about shellfish portions. It was solid crab from top to bottom, with, for once, the cos lettuce being but a whisper.

I had the scallops, which were also amazing value; three perfectly cooked, succulent, juicy molluscs sitting on rings of Clonakilty black pudding, with apple sauce to the side in a dish. We were kind of gobsmacked -- with pleasure.

We had originally intended dining entirely from the Light & Tasty section, but we were so fascinated we had to see what else went on at Crazy Crab. They do a deep-fried fish of the day with fries and tartare sauce at €9.50, and scallops as a main course for €12.95.

If you are a staunch carnivore who has fallen in with fishophiles, you can have a homemade beef burger at €8.95, or a chicken salad at €9.95, but the star of the show is, without doubt, the Crazy Crab seafood platter at €23.95 for two.

A big, white circular platter held two portions of each fishy delight. There were four big langoustines in their shells, plus 12 big, firm Dublin Bay prawns, shelled and coated with Marie Rose sauce and paprika, placed in two mounds. Beside each mound of prawns were three fine crab claws, a swathe of smoked salmon, two fillets of smoked mackerel, a bowl of seared scallops and another pile of fresh crabmeat.

The quality of the fish was stupendous. This is the sort of place people dream of finding abroad where they can indulge in shellfish, and here it is right on our own doorstep in Kilmore Quay. Wines, too, are great value, with house wines from €12.90.

We were drinking water, and our bill with optional service was €44.35. Fantastico. Crazy Crab is owned by West Cork man Mike Crowley. Watch out Martin Shanahan -- Mike is clearly mad about fish too. This place will soon be on the map.


Crazy Crab Seafood Bistro & Cafe,

Kilmore Quay,

County Wexford.

Tel: (053) 914-8848

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