An old fashioned crab boil at the Beach Club, Cottesloe

Getting hands on with your food can actually be a lot of fun,  especially when it comes to crabs – cracking, sucking and slurping up the sweet meat in these hard-shelled little critters is labour intensive but worth every painstaking motion. I love crabs, and so when fellow blogger and general food guru Laura Moseley invited me to attend the Crab Boil at Cottesloe Beach Hotel recently I was all too happy to attend as her date.

Taking place days after the Crab Fest 2015 in Mandurah, this was definitely a celebration of blue swimmer crabs, but had something for everyone in the case of those not so inclined for this snappy creatures. 
Arriving at 6.30pm we made our way inside the Beach Club, starting our night off with some lobster brioche rolls which were cool, sweet and creamy. Definitely hit the spot and was a nice tummy rumble inducing mouthful (more like two or three). It was nice to hang about and see the newly revamped Cott Hotel – a place I spent many a Sunday session at in the past. It has definitely got a new modern and funky vibe to it. 

Soon enough we find our way into The Crab Boil’s dining area which is situated at the far back of the Beach Club and is four long tables set up for communal dining. The group of people sitting with us great company – entertaining, happy and loving food. Definitely the right company for a night focussed on food like this.

The setting is simple but effective, making good use of the space (though the blue lights aren’t quite so friendly from a food photography point of view). But ambiance wise, it hit the nail on the head – and the service throughout the night from the Beach Club’s staff was on point. Swift, friendly and efficient. We definitely were spoiled!

So we donned our bibs, got our mallets in hand and start preparing for our feast. And while the food was being laid out before us we get to hear the fantastic news that the Blue Swimmer Crab Fishery in the Peel-Harvey inlet is seeking to gain Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification, the global gold standard for sustainable fisheries.

It’s a world first for crabs and something I think will highlight more than ever Australia’s commitment to sustainable produce. I’ve written all about this recently on the MSC certified toothfish (another of my favourite sea creatures).

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) operates a program based on a scientifically robust standard for assessing whether wild-capture fisheries are ecologically sustainable and well managed. Their mission is to contribute to the health of the world’s oceans by recognising and rewarding sustainable fishing practices, influencing the choices people make when buying seafood and working with partners to ensure the seafood market remains sustainable.

It’s extremely important work and as consumers we need to assume more responsibility in where we source our seafood produce. If we want to be eating these sea creatures in the future, we need to ensure they are being caught in a sustainable fashion and that there is traceability (chain of custody) so we know exactly where they come from. And in the instance of crabs, I guess watch this space because achieving MSC certification will take at least 12 months, but knowing it’s in the wind goes to show that our fine state’s fisheries are doing their bit to showcase responsibility and environmental awareness.

When the crabs hit our table there’s a bit of an awed silence as we take in the glorious sight. It’s definitely like something I imagine you’d see fresh out of New Orleans and the smell is making me a little giddy. I’m such a fiend for seafood!

There’s blue swimmer crabs as far as the eye can see, gills removed and bodies ready for some serious mallet action. There’s also accompanying corn cobs, garlicky potato wedges, lime and bowls of crisp and oh so delicious onion rings. Oh yes, and don’t forget about the housemade aioli which was a little too tasty – I wanted more and more.

I can’t actually remember how many crabs I ate but I can safely say a lot. Probably too many! But when do you ever get such a free for all feast of crabs – I had to indulge and I enjoyed every bite, even when I had some cuts on my hand after from getting a little too excited about the meat in a large claw.

The crabs were cooked perfectly, the meat sweet and soft. This is how crab truly shines, when it’s cooked simply and is freshly caught. It’s no wonder we all got a little quiet during this part of the meal… less talking, more cracking and munching.

Partway through the meal we’re also brought out some beautiful Butterfield beef ribs and coleslaw to enjoy. I’m pretty full from my over indulgence in crustaceans but not so full that I can’t have a rib or two. They’re sweet, slightly charred and melt in your mouth good. Life really doesn’t get much better than these simple pleasures. 
And then to wrap things up, some good old fashioned berry and apple pie comes our way with berry coulis and cream on the side. Short, crumbly pastry? Tick. Sweet, tart filling? Double tick. Pie is a comfort food to me and this one was the perfect way to finish our dinner, especially with lashings of that thick and fluffy whipped cream. 
The crab boil was a great night out and a lovely opportunity to see the updated design of The Beach Club. I really enjoyed myself, ate way too much (what’s new though right?) and met some fantastic people. I definitely need to come back sometime to try their normal menu and to sit back enjoying the fresh sea air. 
It’s a place full of nostalgia for me, and now with some great food memories to add to it. And while the food in itself was delicious, for me the real standout of the night was hearing all about the journey to MSC certification our WA blue swimmer crabs are going on! Big thanks to my foodie soulmate Laura for taking me as her date, and for Cottesloe Beach Hotel for putting on such a phenomenal spread. 

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    L.Lu
    16 April 2015 at 2:21 pm

    This is os interesting! I really have to admit I never think about the sustainable side of produce but it sounds very important and incentivises eating such foods. And I really like crabs so it looks like a very tasty meal!

  • Reply
    Ellie
    18 April 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Great read, I really enjoyed learning about what's to come for our WA crabs. I went to the Crab Fest in Mandurah, and it really was such a fun and nonstop eating event!

  • Reply
    Queen of Bad Timing
    18 April 2015 at 3:35 pm

    It was definitely an educating and enticing meal. Lots of hands on action getting all the yummy meat out of those crabs!

  • Reply
    Queen of Bad Timing
    18 April 2015 at 3:36 pm

    I missed out on Crab Fest, hopefully next year I'll be able to make it down. I love anything relating to delicious seafood!

  • Reply
    Martine @ Chompchomp
    25 April 2015 at 4:55 pm

    Crab smashing is always fun…but messy work! My mum and step dad are OBSESSED with crabbing and despite both being in their mid-70s they get out there in the sand and catch the full quota each time. In fact, mum has an extra freezer just for the crabs lol.

  • Reply
    Queen of Bad Timing
    27 April 2015 at 12:23 pm

    I ended up cutting myself really bad! But it was all worth that beautiful sweet meat (which would have ended up all over me had I not worn the bib). I'm so jealous, I miss the days where my dad used to have a boat and come home with truckloads of seafood to devour 🙂

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