Long live the (red) king!
For those that consider crab the humble counterpart to lobster...think again. As the name suggests, Crabe Royal specialises in Kamchatka or red king crab (one of the largest and most difficult to catch) - a dedication to this elusive gem or the sea.
The restaurant is currently under scaffolding on 19 place de la Madeleine, but a considerably less shabby interior of Art Deco lights and mirrors lies beneath. It feels a bit New York-y with glass countertops showcasing oysters and pieces from the épicerie - quite heavily marketed but it comes with the territory. A mere 6 months old, the place has a lot of walkins with guests ranging from dates, to families and business acquaintances - an upmarket hotchpotch.
Our welcome is smiley and genuine, coats are taken, parts of the menu are explained in detail. Naturally, most of the menu is dedicated to this red beast: divided into starters, ceviches, fresh dishes, shellfish and crustacean, classics, rolls (there is a lobster version for sticklers). Wine isn’t anything out of the ordinary and a bit expensive (glass from €10 and €42) but they did let us try two whites - a nice touch.
Kicking off with a selection of tarama (wasabi, crab & sea urchin) and a verrine of crab meat, creamed avocado and yellow spicy pepper. The taramas are rich but a tasty starter, great with the homemade oven crackers that are offered. With little pops of zing from the grains, the wasabi is by far the best.
The Royal Crab arrives in a metal dim sum container; crab meat sits in the top compartment, flaming charcoal in bottom. We’re advised to wait until the smoking stops. The result? A delicious flavour, more from a smoker than barbecue, tender and packed full of juices. With it, we picked the famous crab claw 'gratinée' - with a creamy pepper and chive sauce. The foot-long claws come with a chopped salad of radishes to take the edge off the richness.
Portions are small, but you’ll be hard pushed to fit more in. We try to and go all out with the chocolate devil’s cake. It’s surprisingly good, with intense cocoa frosting and sharp raspberry coulis, and indeed devilish.
Crabe Royale might be part of the Kaspia group, along with Kaspian Caviar and Maison de la Truffe (they’re next door), but don’t let this put you off. The product is amongst the best you’ll find, the setting is more than meets the eye, and the staff go the extra mile for your comfort. There's a new king in town.
|Venue name:||Crabe Royal||Contact:|
19, Place de la Madeleine
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sat, midday - 10.30pm|
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