Crustaceans food fans now can catch the enormous lagoon crab dish as one of the most recognized restaurants in Sri Lanka has expanded its branch to Bangkok for the first time.
Listed among Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants every year since 2015, Ministry of Crab from Colombo, Sri Lanka, emerged from its shell Sunday at a new Bangkok location. The restaurant – imports the original’s commitment to freshness and Japanese culinary philosophy – is known for serving delectable lagoon crab dishes with signature Sri Lankan spices.
The restaurant’s second outpost in Southeast Asia after Manila is housed in a newly erected building on Soi Sukhumvit 31. It offers up to nearly 90 dining seats covering the two floors — the first floor seats 30 near an open kitchen and the second floor seats 56.
Ministry of Crab, which first opened in 2011 in Colombo, was founded by former cricket players Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, with Lankan-Japanese chef Dharshan Munidasa presiding over the kitchen. Since then it has expanded to Manila, Shanghai, Mumbai and the Maldives.
The naming gimmick carries over into a 10-article constitution, and at a Friday media event, the founders called themselves “ministers.” They stood by their philosophy that there no canned, artificial, or frozen crab meat would be in the kitchen.
As for the crabs themselves, Chandini Gulrajani, the director of the group that brought the restaurant to Bangkok, said they’re sourced from neighboring countries with “some” coming from Sri Lanka.
The menu offered at the Bangkok outpost is mostly similar to the one at the original. Diners can start with the Crab Liver Pate (THB390), a 20-gram appetizer of creamy-rich crab liver, thinly-sliced, square-cut toast and a tiny beaker of sweet palm sugar syrup.
Baked Crab (THB390) comes with a dish covered in a crab shell. Open it to find a comforting crab risotto that pairs its tender crab meat chunks with Japanese rice.
As pepper is named the “King of Spice” in Sri Lanka, here comes the star of the ministry: Pepper Crab. The signature menu matches a whole crab with hand-crushed pepper corns and a pepper stock. The prize depends upon the size of the crabs, from a half kilogram (THB1,100) up to the largest size on the range — the ginormous 2kg Crabzilla (THB8,150). Munidasa said he won’t be using any baby crab or crabs that weigh under 500 grams for “sustainability” purposes.
Other than crab, diners can dig into another aquatic arthropod. Garlic Chili Prawn is a large lake prawn — said to be farm-hatched and released into the wild to mature to full size — cooked in Italian olive oil, Japanese soy sauce, garlic and chili flakes. The dish also depends upon the prawn size, from a Big Prawn (150g-200g for THB500) to Prawnzilla (500g upward for THB1,200).
The dessert menu has been given a small tropical twist, giving birth to Coconut Creme Brulee (THB250). The custard-based sweet uses coconut milk, baked inside a coconut shell and served in the shell with soft coconut flesh.
Ministry of Crab is open 6pm to 11:30pm daily except for Mondays. It plans to add lunch service early next year. The restaurant is located on Soi Sukhumvit 31 and can be reached from BTS Phrom Phong.
Ministry of Crab
No. 15, Soi Sukhumvit 31, Khlongtoei Nua, Watthana, Bangkok
Opens 6pm – 11:30pm onTuesdays through Sundays
Phone: +6698 598 6554
BTS: Phrom Phong