The Place Sri Lankan crabs – a dish we are so familiar even back in Singapore. Located in a preserved 400-year-old Old Dutch Hospital in Colombo, Ministry of Crab is a must visit restaurant if you are a true blue foodie and crab lover. The crustacean restaurant is easily one of the best restaurant in Sri Lanka, ranked #29 on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017. The restaurant was set up by chef Dharshan Munidasa together with cricketing legends Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara.
The space of Ministry of Crab is open and spacious, with the open kitchen taking centre stage inside the restaurant, along with plenty of tables along the corridor of the colonial structure.
Other than Ministry of Crab, the same chef also runs The Tuna & The Crab, a hybrid Japanese and seafood restaurant in Galle, and Kaema Sutra located in Shangri-La Colombo, focusing on contemporary Sri Lankan cuisine.
The Food We only tried the crabs here, even though there are other crustacean like prawns on the menu. The prices are similar to what we can get in Singapore, ranging with various sizes Half a kilo (500-600g at Rs.4000 / SGD33.80) to XL (1kg at Rs.8800 / SGD74.30) to Crabzilla (2kg at Rs.26000 / SGD220). The point to note is that the sizes of the crabs available daily depends on the catch of the day and season, so it effectively leaves diners without an option if there are only big crabs more than 1kg available on your day of visit.
The recommend flavour to go for as we sussed out from the staff is the Garlic Chilli Crab (Small-sized, LKR4,800 / SGD40.60). The small size is good for 2 persons if you are planning to order at least another flavour. Contrary to my initial thoughts, the garlic chilli flavour isn’t spicy at all, with a very aromatic mix of garlic and slightly sweet chilli taste profile. It is a unique sauce which I have not come across in Singapore, and I was dipping my bread in the sauce throughout the meal. The crab meat is very fresh, and I wasn’t expecting anything less. The texture of the meat is firm with a sweet flavour profile.
The other recommended flavour to us is the Pepper Crab (Small-sized, LKR4,800 / SGD40.60), where the sauce is prepare using hand crushed pepper corns and a pepper stock. Unlike Singapore’s black pepper crab, the pepper sauce is not at all spicy and instead leans towards the sweeter profile. Personally, I will go for the garlic chilli over the pepper crab any time.
I recommend ordering the Garlic Bread (LKR240 / SGD2) which pairs very well with the sauces of the crabs.
Apart from Ministry Of Crab, I also dropped by The Tuna & The Crab while at Galle and had the Garlic Chilli Crab (LKR1,000 / SGD8.50 per 100g) and Tendon (LKR2,300 / SGD19.50).
If you fancy a more upscale dining experience, try Kaeme Sutra at Shangri-La Colombo, which serves authentic Sri Lankan cuisine such as Tuna Curry (LKR1,600 / SGD13.50) with Egg Hopper (LKR400 / SGD3.40) and Kottu Sutra with Crab (LKR1,800 / SGD15.20).
Rants As I expected, it is extremely touristy at Ministry of Crab and walk ins are virtually impossible. Do reserve well ahead at least one week in advance. Oh, add that there is no air-conditioning as well.
Will I Return Again? Without a doubt, Ministry of Crab is easily one of the best meals I had in Sri Lanka after visiting much of the central region and southern coast. The crabs are fresh, and I love the garlic chilli sauce. Prices are very expensive by local standards, but this restaurant is definitely worth a try for tourists to get their crab cravings fixed.
Taste bud: 3.5/5
Hole in the pocket: 4/5
Overall Experience: 3.5/5
Ministry of Crab
No. 04, Old Dutch Hospital
Colombo 01, Sri Lanka
The Tuna & The Crab
Galle Dutch Hospital, Hospital Street
Galle 80000, Sri Lanka
Level 4, Shangri-la Hotel Colombo
No. 1 Galle Face, Colombo 02, Sri Lanka
Ranted by the Ranter