Buddy up, hide your mobile devices, secure a bib, roll up your sleeves, ditch table manners and dig in! Welcome to the holy grail of a Louisiana seafood boil right in the heart of Seminyak, Bali! Bring your appetite and a sense of adventure.
Get ready for an interactive (and rather therapeutic) dining experience where making a mess is encouraged, if not guaranteed. Give your therapist a miss and pick up a mallet or a shellfish cracker instead. Whack them, crush them, pick them, suck them and lick them. Whatever you do, don’t ask for plates or utensils. This is The Holy Crab, where crabs and seafood are dished up Louisiana-style—boiled, doused in a secret sauce and served out of plastic bags onto the paper-lined tables.
The Holy Crab hails from Jakarta, founded by seafood lover, executive chef and owner Albert Wijaya. Having anchored itself firmly as the big city’s leading Louisiana-inspired seafood restaurant, Albert decided to cast his net farther east, landing on the island of Bali’s most coveted dining stretch in Petitenget, Seminyak.
“The combination of world-class seafood and traditional Louisiana cooking techniques together with a chic yet comfortable dining vibe are just some of the key factors that will set The Holy Crab apart,” says Albert. “The choice of seafood that we offer will range from your everyday-affordable local selections to imported exotic crabs, ensuring that our menu can be enjoyed on all occasions.”
Newly opened in January 2015, The Holy Crab’s extensive menu, offering fresh and rare seafood flown in from North America as well as sourced locally, reads like a sailor’s dream: Dungeness crabs, Alaskan king crab legs, Alaskan snow crab legs, mud crabs, local blue crabs and other shellfish like Canadian lobsters, shrimp, crawfish and clams. Don’t miss the special bar snacks of crab cake, shrimp roll, crab roll and lobster roll, only available in the new Bali location.
The true secret of the hugely successful crab house lies in its homemade signature sauce, a spicy Cajun combination of ground cayenne pepper, paprika, lemon and garlic, thoughtfully adjusted according to your spice tolerance—from mild to Holy Moly. Tame your tongue afterwards with The Holy Crab’s best-selling lemonade or a frosty beer.
Housed in a cosy two-storey building, Albert’s second restaurant is relaxed and cheeky at times, with just the right amount of nautical notes and a colour palette inspired by the US flag—black-and-white chequerboard tiles are paired with whitewashed brick walls; retro red wooden furniture is balanced with snug blue American diner booths. Newbies to crustaceans need not be intimidated by those claws: just refer to The Dummies’ Guide to De-Shelling prominently painted bright red on the wall for a quick tutorial.
Did you know that lobsters breathe and listen with their legs and that clams have no eyes, ears or noses? There is no shortage of curious marine facts, or of the quintessential southern hospitality here. Delicious nautical nosh, faultless service and a frivolous atmosphere—it seems like it’s smooth sailing ahead for The Holy Crab. Dining should always be this fun. Let the crab feast begin!
This article was first published in Asia Dreams, March-April 2015.
Photos courtesy of The Holy Crab.