Green Chilli Crab, Singapore Red Chilli Crab, Otak Curry Crab, Steamed & Roasted Crab, Crab Bee Hoon in Rich Broth, Balsamic Crab, Black Peppercorn Crab… this is HolyCrab indeed.
Those of you who miss HolyCrab at Tan Quee Lan Street (Bugis), the crab specialty restaurant has relocated and found a new home at Arcade @ The Capitol Kempinksi.
It is right opposite City Hall MRT station.
Today, HolyCrab offers many more seating options, a lovely bar setting, and an array of new menu mainstays by chef owner Elton Seah.
It is difficult to miss Chef Elton, as he would most likely be wearing his signature bright orange chef’s uniform with hounds-tooth designed pants.
With many years of experience, the straight-taking Chef Elton first started as a private dining chef before opening up this restaurant.
The bigger space and kitchen at the new venue also means that Chef has the opportunity to showcase many of his previously secret recipes.
There are more than crabs here.
Expect an expansive line-up of starters, soups, seafood and meat mains, hot stone pots, veggies, noodles, rice, and desserts. A special section is dedicated just for items with salted duck eggs.
Some of the highlights include Cow Pei Cow Bu ($128) – a dish of Moroccan Wagyu Beef Ribs, Green Assam Fish ($108), Signature HolyCrab Fried Rice ($16) and Enchanted Forrest ($28) – a dessert of ethereal kaya ice cream with cotton candy ‘cloud’.
Here are some recommended HolyCrab dishes, many with quirky names:
Green Mumba ($90/kg)
A product of intense, months-long R&D, Green Mumba is HolyCrab’s answer to the legendary Singapore Red Chilli Crab. Crabs are sourced from Sri Lanka and Alaska, all high quality and antibiotics-free.
Packed with bold, traditional Asian flavours, this semi-spicy crab dish showcases Chef Elton’s signature savoury green chilli sauce using 12 different ingredients.
Into the sauce come two types of green chilli, lemongrass, ginger, candle nut, and onions. The mint leaves and kaffir lime leave add a tantalising herbaceous aroma, making that diner 6-feet away from you turn green with envy.
HolyCrab is probably the only restaurant in Singapore to serve up this version of Green Chilli Crab, and so the ‘excitement’ comes because you would have no prior experience for comparison.
While the appearance of the dish looked “Thai”, I would say it was closer to a Peranakan-style with a semi-thick sauce that was rather aromatic and possibly very addictive.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t as spicy as I would have imagined (I wished there was some tanginess), and perhaps so as not to distract from the sweetness of the crab flesh.
Singapore Chilli Crab ($90/kg)
Any traditionalist would browse the menu for this classic national dish, and Holy Crab’s Singapore Chilli Crab is designed to deliver. (Our table was divided – some preferred the Green, while I enjoyed the Red.)
The crab is cooked approximately 7 minutes, and some crab flesh may stick to the shell due to frying.
I found myself smacking the lips for its sweet and savoury spicy sauce, drenched all over the sustainably sourced Sri Lankan crab.
While I would personally prefer the gravy to be more garlicky, I think it found a balanced-spot between being spicy and sweet, without being ‘ketchupy’ at all.
The sauce was also considered very eggs and lusciously-thick, with nuts for added texture and flavour.
The triangular shaped mantous ($4 for 5) are a must-have, deep fried to golden brown, crisp and fluffy. These are like your buns used for kong bak pau, and worked wonders with the chilli crab sauce as well.
oOoOtak Crab ($90/kg)
The eponymous crabs are sourced from Sri Lanka or Alaska, promising a finger-licking delicious experience with fleshy meat.
Some of my personal favourite crab dishes here include the Singapore Chilli Crab with sweet and spicy eggy sauce; and the Green Mumba also known as Green Chilli Crabs – HolyCrab’s answer to the legendary Singapore Red Chilli Crab.
This oOoOtak is a style of ‘Otah Crab’ inspired by local coconut curry. Wok-fried with kaffir lime leaves, homemade sambal, coconut milk and eggs, the coconut curry was quite thick, rich and distinct otah flavour.
In terms of spice level, it got quite intense but very ‘shiok’. Do get some of those Mantous ($4 for 5) deep-fried to golden brown, crisp and fluffy to mop up that extra sauce.
This was the dish the table first swept clean. So no matter which camp of crab flavours you sit on, just order this anyway.
To try the labour of love of the punny-named “Capricorn”, perhaps the only one you can find in Singapore.
But before you go deep into zodiac mode, this dish is actually made of corn kernels each painstakingly coated with salted egg yolk sauce.
A dish Chef Elton created while he was in China, it was initially seasoned only with salt and pepper but perfected it in 2 months. He added salted egg yolks and curry leaves for that local flavour.
Fried and tossed till dry such as every corn gets a bit of that grainy salted egg flavour, along with sweetness from sugar and touch of spiciness from the chilli padi. Very addictive.
Another must-try appetiser is Inception, a cross between the classic British Scotch Egg and the Hakka yong tau foo.
Unlike Scotch egg, which is often wrapped in sausage, this soft-boiled egg is encased in a special prawn paste – much like the fish paste stuffed into tofu in yong tau foo.
Break into its crunchy deep-fried crust and let the runny yolk ooze out.
Open Sesame ($28 for half, $48 for whole)
The mild, sweet, and nutty flavour of sesame seeds is highlighted in this dish, served as a whole or half spring chicken.
Inspired by a creation of the chef’s Malaysian friend, the chicken is brined in salt for 9 hours – a process that helps keep the meat succulent.
Once thoroughly brined, it is studded with sesame seeds (imagine all that effort) and roasted for 20 minutes.
Even though a sauce is provided, this is one of the few chicken dishes I feel didn’t need additional sauce or salt – it was tasty and succulent on its own. I especially liked the outer fragrant and crisp-thin sesame coated skin, which reminded me of those in top Hong Kong restaurants.
Crab Tree & Evelyn ($28)
Crab Tree & Evelyn offers you a tree of poached and roasted broccoli sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds, and served standing on a bed of velvety sauce (This dish is to pay homage to one of Chef’s favourite handwash brand by the way.)
Adding a rich texture and body to the velvety sauce are crab meat, garlic, and chai poh (preserved radish).
Some diners call this the “Prosperity Tree” dish aka fa cai shu. While the presentation was unconventional, the magic was in that creamy crab sauce (almost like a chowder) filled with chunks of meat.
And look… it is the only dish on the menu with the Instagram icon. So, whip out your phone and snap your pic before the server chops down the tree for your dining enjoyment.
Smoking Pot ($58, $98)
Among the hotpot stone dishes, the Smoking Pot aka Chicken ClayPot Rice is recommended.
This comfort food is given that luxurious treatment, adding pan-seared foie gras to the tender, juicy chunks of chicken meat.
The server would recommend actually mashing and mixing the foie gras within the rice, so that you get buttery-ness every spoonful.
The much-loved crusty rice, once mixed with the rest of ingredients, releases an explosion of umami flavours.
Scorched Vermicelli ($16, $30)
Inspired by Chef Elton’s fave dish Chao Tar Bee Hoon, he has taken the classic recipe and perfected it to his version. Holy Crab’s rendition is prepared by charring the rice noodles.
Made like an omelette, the vermicelli is mixed with prawn, squid, pork belly, chai poh, and blended with eggs.
Fried on both sides, the mixture turns crispy on the exterior and scorching the vermicelli in the process.
Arcade @ The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore, 13 Stamford Road, #01-85, Singapore 178905
Tel: +65 8444 2722
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 10pm, Last order 9:30pm (Mon – Sun)
* This entry is brought to you in partnership with HolyCrab.