I discovered Grab a Yabby just a few days after it’s opening. Little Chef and I had been to Ibiza N2 Gelato and spied Beaux Lane, a little alley just off Beaufort Street, which is lined with new eateries. We popped our heads in to see what this new dining spot was all about. Grab a Yabby’s concept of bringing an authentic US eating experience to Perth sounded like a mouth-watering prospect. A couple of weeks later, I was very excited to receive an invite to their blogger dinner.
Dining at Grab a Yabby is a unique experience in Perth. Prepare to get your hands dirty! There’s no cutlery, well there is, though you’re encouraged to eat with your hands and there are no plates. We’re told to just go for it! Armed with a wooden hammer, plastic gloves, shelling tool and a bib (with handy food catching flap!) we got to sample their menu, where shellfish are the star of the show.
Owners, husband and wife team Phil and Bec, first opened Grab a Yabby in Melbourne. It was in idea born from the American food discoveries they made when travelling in the US. They opened up a pop up restaurant in Melbourne and Grab a Yabby has grown from there. It’s not strictly a seafood restaurant, as you won’t find much fish on the menu, but they do specialise in crustaceans. You don’t have to be a shellfish lover to enjoy Grab a Yabby, they also have huuuge racks of beef and pork ribs on the menu too. We all had our bibs on and were ready to eat! Here’s a great pic of the bloggers waiting in anticipation, by Martin of food blog Morsels.
We started our feast with sweet potato chips sprinkled with “Cajun magic dust”, which is Grab a Yabby’s special seasoning.
I really enjoyed the soft shell crab sliders, which are a favourite bite of mine, whenever I spy it on a menu. There are also chicken sliders available for the non seafood lovers.
The branding of the slider buns is really cool. I hand modelled this yummy slider for Raymond (@Perth_gram), for his excellent Instagram pic.
The pork ribs are massive and the tender meat is cooked to perfection. Chips and hot “lava sauce” is served with the rack of ribs and I’m told it’s super hot.
For the main event , the shellfish, you order in 3 stages. Firstly you need to pick your seafood. Grab a Yabby have a big range – think king prawns, Morton Bay bugs, mussels, pipies, clams, rock lobster, mud crab and much more. They have local yabbies and marron from the south west as well as importing special varieties like the Alaskan king crab. To keep the American theme going, Grab a Yabby’s seafood is priced by the pound. One pound is equal to 0.45 kg, so that’s about half a kilo.
Next, you pick your sauce. There’s the Grab a Yabby special sauce – the traditional flavours used in Cajun cooking in America’s deep south. The XO sauce is bursting with Asian flavours like lemongrass, shallots, chilli dried shrimp and scallops. The garlic butter sauce also compliments the seafood really well. I really enjoyed them. Lastly, your choice of heat depends a lot on how spicy you like your shellfish. You have the option of mild, hot, extreme and insane! Call me a wuss, but I’m a “mild” kinda gal.
The Alaskan king crab legs, poking out of their bag, are seriously massive. They are cooked in the bag with the sauce, potatoes and corn on the cob, with some rice on the side.
After a demo by one of the friendly waitresses, I attempt to cut open the crab leg with my plastic shelling tool and I was really impressed with just how meaty the crabs were. I’ve only eaten much smaller crabs in the past and get frustrated with their lack of meatiness – these Alaskan king crab legs are seriously tasty and there’s loads to chow down on.
In between this seafood spectacular, we got to try the beef ribs too. Another gigantic serve of lip smackingly tasty meat, that is tender, juicy and packet with BIG meaty flavours.
The other seafood bucket that I tried was a mix of a whole load of shellfish in the aromatic xo sauce. I was excited that we got grab a whole yabby each. For me, the star of the show, was the tastiest part of the evening. I also got to try the bright red American craw fish, which were good, but it was the delicious local yabbies that really impressed me.The mixed seafood bags also have corn on the cobs and potatoes cooked in that tasty sauce mixed in with the seafood.The price of dishes at Grab a Yabby are on the higher end of the scale. For me, I can always justify paying more if the food is delicious, generous and it offers something different to the place down the street – Grab a Yabby does all of these. Expect to throw your table manners out the window and get messy! It’s great for a group of friends, though I probably wouldn’t recommend it for a first date hehe What an experience!