House of Crabs in Melbourne is actually situated under the Newmarket Hotel. You walk down two flights of stairs to be greeted by this loud assortment of things. It's typical of the crab houses that I've been to in America and I think the decor is fun and cool.
The staff are really fun and introduce you to how things work and also get the ball rolling with drinks. We started with their signature Lagerita, which is a lager mixed with a margarita. It's actually really good despite the strange sounding combination. We also get to play a game of snap with the waitress in which she lets us win a free shot of tequila, which you have with a torched marshmallow. Again, strange but actually quite nice. As the night wears on though, the service isn't quite as efficient or fun as it started. Energies start to flag and faces start to become more wooden. It's a shame given how much fun it started off with and the mood that generates.
Onto the food. We had starters of fresh oysters and the highly recommended lobster donut. The oysters were nice enough, without being the freshest I've tasted. The lobster donut had good flavour but to be honest, it couldn't been just potatoes in the middle and it wouldn't had the same taste. The lobster flavour is lost completely and all you get is mayonnaise.
With the crab, we got the Alaskan King Crab and the Spanner Crab. We also shared a side dish of Grilled Balmain Bugs. All the crab comes in bags which the wait staff then pour onto the table, sauce and all. It's a great way to eat crab as you have lots of space to make a mess and pick out all the meat. The Alaskan King Crab was much easier to peel and you get large chunks of meat. Served in the lemon pepper sauce, it was really good. The spanner crab took more work but the flesh was so sweet and in the cajun sauce, it took was so good. So the main dishes of the crabs were really yum. The Balmain bugs came out undercooked in my opinion the first time. The exterior basically had a quick blowtorch it seemed with the meat still raw inside. I like raw seafood but in this occasion, I wanted grilled seafood. So I asked for it to be cooked more, to which I was informed the chef said it was cooked the right way. I insisted that the bugs be "overcooked" then. The dish came back and it was delicious.
Overall I had an enjoyable and delicious experience. I will say that this meal would be on the pricey side for dining out. I understand that crabs are experience so you have to factor that into your consideration when choosing to come here. Unless you're going to eat lots of other items besides the crab, the meal costs will start to add up. And why would you come here if not to experience the hero ingredient of the crab. I'd come here occasionally to have a great night out and slowly enjoy lots of different types of crabs.
My guest and I dined courtesy of the restaurant.