Ministry of Crab, The Old Dutch Hospital, Colombo, Sri Lanka

It is safe to say I didn’t exactly love Colombo when I visited last year. It is a loud, frenetic city that is difficult to explore on foot, not to mention tiring. However as my flight times were not particularly compatible with those of my family, flying in from the UK to meet me in Sri Lanka, I decided to spend a few days in Colombo in order to give it a “second chance” before meeting up with them.

Naturally, food was at the top of my agenda and with plenty of opportunity to eat traditional Sri Lankan food during the rest of my trip, my attention focussed on the two Sri Lankan restaurants on “Asia’s 50 Best” restaurant list; Ministry of Crab and Nihonbashi both operated by Chef Dharshan Munidase

Based in the historical Old Dutch Hospital (built in 1677 it is one of the oldest surviving buildings in the Old Dutch Fort) Ministry of Crab is dedicated to serving only the very best local seafood, importing as few ingredients as possible. As you might have guessed from the name, the focus is on Sri Lankan crab with around 15 different weights of crab available, from 500 grams to over 2kg, in over a dozen different preparations including the famous Singaporean chilli crab, curry crab, baked crab and crab stir-fried with black pepper.

I started with 2 local oysters (240 Rupees per piece) which were served with homemade chili sauce and a 20 year old soya sauce. I was a little surprised at how large they were but I should not have worried as they were delicious and briny and not at all creamy as I had feared. The combination of the chili sauce and the aged soy was excellent and unusual, you would imagine that adding something so salty to oysters would be unnecessary however it really worked.

For my main course I had their smallest crab (500-600g for 3000 Rupees) in traditional Sri Lankan Curry sauce made with drumstick leaves. I could make out the sweetness of the crab meat through the curry sauce and the shell was generously filled with crab meat – they say they x-ray the crabs they use to ensure only the best ones make it to the kitchens! I was relieved that they had partially broken down the crab shell – you can imagine how messy it was to eat – and in addition to the bib they kindly fastened around my neck, they served a lovely finger bowl with tea leaves (to help remove the oil) venivel and iramusu flowers on the side which was a nice touch.

I hadn’t planned on having a dessert but I really liked the sound of the Coffee Jelly (380 Rupees) which was made with sweetened black coffee and served with a  dollop of rich buffalo curd on top, absolutely delicious and a great end to the meal.

Service was truly impressive, the staff were super switched on, friendly and attentive and it was a really enjoyable evening. Ministry of Crab is certainly deserving of all its plaudits and it was by far the best meal I had in Colombo, no seafood lover should visit Colombo without eating there. With a G&T, made using Sri Lankan gin, and a couple of glasses of wine my bill came to $60 which I thought was excellent value for the quality of food and service.

Old Dutch Hospital,
Colombo 01
Map To Our Location!

Tel: 234CRAB (2342722)

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Amy M says:

    It looks delicious!
    You’re going to have to do a food tour one day missy – you always find such incredible sounding places xo

    1. beirutibrit says:

      😊 thanks Amy!

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