Amongst the plethora of new restaurants which have opened within the Broadgate complex is one which specialises in sea food, mostly shellfish – with crab dishes as its speciality. This is Crab Tavern, the only one of the new mainstream restaurants in Broadgate Circle which is a totally new concept.
It does serve some meat dishes too and describes itself as following the American ‘surf and turf’ ideal, although does seem to lack the combo steak plus shrimp dishes type so beloved of the American genre. The only one of these on the a la carte menu is their surf and turf salad comprising flank steak, jumbo shrimp and nicoise salad at £12.50 for a main, or £9.50 as an appetiser. A bigger sharing version is also available at £18.00. Otherwise the only way of coming up with a meat and seafood combo dish is to order two separate ones which might be seen as something of an extravagance!
Crab Tavern’s spacious interior
Like nearly all the new Broadgate Circle restaurants it is deceptively large inside with modern decor. Some tables are raised with tall bar stool type chairs while others are normal height and there is a long banquette against the wall. It also has an outside area and on the pleasantly warm evening we visited – the day of one of the tube strikes which closed down the whole London Underground network – somewhat surprisingly the whole of Broadgate Circle’s outdoor space was absolutely heaving, although the main dining area was quiet. But no doubt Crab Tavern made up for this in serving drinks and cocktails – and some food too – to those who chose to sit at the outside tables.
As a seafood restaurant Crab Tavern is somewhat lacking in fresh fish type dishes – the only one on the daily menu being the catch of the day – but for shellfish aficionados, and particularly those who enjoy crab – this could be restaurant Nirvana, although for full enjoyment of what’s on offer one needs patience, claw cracking skills and deep pockets. The featured West Coast Bucket Boil comprising Crab claws, mussels, lobster, ratte potatoes, merguez sausage, sweetcorn – with aprons provided to avoid dry cleaning bills – comes in at a hefty £35 a head – minimum two people. We’re sure this is excellent but seemed a little extravagant for our tastes.
The West Coast Bucket Broil
For a shared starter we had the Crab Tavern Platter – King crab, crispy soft shell crab, crab caesar sub, crab tartar on toast which comes in at £10 per person again with a minimum of 2 people, although given that for two there are two of everything one can’t see why this couldn’t be provided for a single person with just one of everything – it can’t be that difficult to do! But so saying maybe a little disappointing although I have to say the softshell crab was delectable. The rest was perhaps just upmarket canapés.
The Crab Tavern Platter
Well following that we both decided rather to go for a couple of starters in lieu of our main course as these all looked interesting. If we hadn’t had the Crab Tavern platter I would have probably gone for the Softshell Crab Burger (£15), but having had a hefty helping already thought better of it.
Softshell Crab Burger
We both had the West Coast Clam Chowder (£7.50) – it was ok, but I’ve had better across the pond. I had the peppered squid which was very tasty, but a little rubbery, which squid can be – perhaps slightly overcooked, while my companion went for the cold Cured Salmon starter with quail eggs, basil and capers which was very well received.
Desserts are a little disappointing in that there’s not a lot of choice and what is on offer is not that exciting, although what we had was very pleasant indeed. I had the baked Cheesecake with berry compot and my companion the Brownie Stack with salted caramel ice cream, which was declared delicious.
Overall an interesting eating experience and would certainly go back, but might choose differently or just go for a drink and one of their bar snacks – or perhaps the softshell crab burger, although this doesn’t appear on the bar snacks menu so you’d have to know it was available. If you are really into crab then this might be the place for you – although at a price.
Like most of the Broadgate Circle restaurants, Crab Tavern is also open for breakfast and it does offer a very tempting breakfast menu varying from Crab Hashbrowns with fried duck egg & spinach at £7.50 through to what it calls the The Full Monty – Bacon, sausage, black pudding, eggs, home-style fried potatoes, mushrooms, beans, grilled tomato at £9.50. It has variations on Eggs Benedict and also offers Scrambled Eggs On Toast with Avocado, crab meat, chives for (£8.50) among others. However if a Continental style breakfast is your thing you’d probably have to go to order from Aubaine next door – not sure if or not the two would be happy to combine! Breakfast is served Monday to Friday 7am to 11am and Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 11am
Crab Tavern is at Unit 7, Broadgate Circle, EC2 . Tel: 0207 096 2044 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Full opening hours: Monday – Wednesday 7:00am – 11:30pm (last food order 11.00pm); Thursday – Friday 7:00am – 1:00am (last food order 11.30pm); Saturday – Sunday 10:00am – 11:30pm (last food order 11:00pm).