Who’s the fatty?
He’s received numerous awards and accolades in the Big Apple, as well as a mention in the Michelin Guide, before expanding to Hong Kong. This crustacean is the latest hotspot in town, with a vibe similar to that of the hip Brickhouse.
The low-down on this crustacean:
The cuisine is a mix of Southeast Asian flavours, inspired by Malaysian, Thai, Indonesian, Vietnamese and Singaporean cuisines, prepared with Western-style techniques. There is a sexy, sleek cocktail and raw bar, leather-clad booths and graffiti-walled dining room. Its modern eclectic meets prison chic – an homage to its neighbourhood’s history, with the former central police headquarters and prison nearby.
We de-shelled and dined on:
Items from their raw bar feature a delicious, well-balanced crudo flavoured with coconut, chilli, herbs and fried shallot; freshly shucked oysters served with Thai chilli jam that slightly overshadowed the lovely, briny oysters; and spicy if a bit overcooked lime-kimchi shrimp served with lettuce and herbs. Starters including grilled Jalan Alor chicken wings (named after the Kuala Lumpur street lined with restaurants that grill food over charcoal) were sticky, sweet and worth sucking and gnawing on, as were the smoked pork ribs. Anything we can tear apart with our hands and later lick the remaining stickiness off our fingers is always a good thing. We also tried the signature watermelon pickle and crispy pork and were informed that the fruit-swine combination was a revelation to some. However, we could have done without this flavour revelation; the pork belly slices were fatty yet dry, while the lacklustre watermelon pieces did nothing to the flavour profile besides add some non-distinct moisture.
The Fatty Crab:
Being a fan of Malaysian/Singaporean chilli crab ourselves, the owners were quick to tell us that this is a “take” on the traditional version, and indeed it almost came close to the real thing. We wished they had used mud crab instead of Dungeness, as it lacked the natural sweetness and succulence that fresh mud crab offers. The chilli-based sauce left us underwhelmed – it lacked a depth of flavour and the sweet-sour and zesty spice and long, beaten egg strands that the dish is renowned for. And we felt a little claustrophobic with the closely placed tables and chairs, disappointed that we weren’t able to “beast it” and get messy – à la Hushpuppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Is it worth getting your hands messy?
If you are a fan of Brickhouse, you’ll also be a devoted fan of Fatty Crab. It’s where you’ll find the young, hip and cool crowd gathering, right down to the chefs and waitstaff. The environment is fun and energetic, and you will walk out wishing you were in your 20s again, especially if you stick close to the bar.
Fatty Crab, G/F 11–13 Old Bailey Street, Central, 2521 2033