Pacific Seafood BBQ House, 295 Racecourse Road, Kensington. Phone: 9372 6688
As a recent dinner with friends wrapped up at our fave Somalian eatery in Ascot Vale, it was suggested we reconvene for a soiree for the Chinese mid-autumn festival with the express purpose of getting gleefully sticky and messy with as much mud crab as we can handle.
The festival Sunday proves too tricky so instead five of us gather mid-week at Pacific Seafood BBQ House in Kensington and have a ball.
I confess this is unfamiliar territory for me.
Do we order one mud crab – they’re priced at $65 – each?
How does it work?
It’s easy – the rest of us reject any ordering duties and leave it all up to She Who Oraganised The Gathering.
Our trust is well rewarded!
As with my previous visit to this newish arrival on Racecourse Road, with another member of our happy group, we are served complementary soup.
We love this tradition, which we also run across in various Asian and African places.
This is plainer than most and reminds me very much of my mum’s vegetable soup, even if it is beef based.
Then it’s crab time!
After consultation with the staff, it’s agreed that two crabs with accompanying noodles and a few other dishes will do us right.
Our crabs are brought, pre-cooking, to our table for our approval – just like a bottle of wine.
They look bigger than in the distorted view offered by their storage tank.
Then it’s off to the kitchen with them!
They return upon a mound of egg noodles ($12 on top of the crab fee) and drenched in a sticky chilli sauce.
It’s all very good.
There is much cracking, sucking, ooo-ing and aaah-ing as the delicious, sweet crab meat is extracted.
It’s a profound pleasure to have one’s fill of fresh crab and bugger the cost.
The two crabs prove plenty – in fact, the final two claws linger on the plate for several minutes before being claimed.
But here’s an interesting thing – the sauce-imbued noodles are every bit as tasty and enjoyable as the actual crabs.
Such good seafood in the company of good pals – absolute heaven!
Happily, the rest of our meal is also very good.
The fried rice ($10.80) is excellent and quite a cut above the regular fried rice we all know so well.
This is studded with good-sized chunks of roast pork and quite a few biggish, plump and wonderful prawns.
Vegetables with bean curd ($19.50) makes sure we get some greenery and fungus as part of our meal.
Our final dish – deep-fried chicken ribs with egg yolk ($22) – comes from the specials colourfully arrayed on the walls.
It’s a relative of the familiar salt and pepper chicken ribs.
But these chook bits are richer – perhaps a little bit too rich but perfectly fitting and yummy for a special occasion feast such as this.
We’ve eaten grandly – for which pleasure the five us pay a few collective few bucks under $200.
So … $40 each for such fine food?
We finish with moon cake pieces – just a nibble for me because, as with another member of our group, I’m not a fan!