IT’S not a red herring that Manchester has perennially lacked a proper fish diner. Livebait, Fish! came and went; maybe Randall & Aubin has filled the gap to some extent and the newly opened Hip Hop Chip Shop in Ancoats is redefining fish and chips to a wider public, but it it another set of street food heroes that may be the answer to our piscine prayers.
In March Holy Crab are opening in the Manchester Arndale South Side (near La Bandera At The Market) in one of three new units released for casual dining traders. For co-ownersHannah Eddleston and Lou Henderson it’s a perfect roof over their heads destination after three years’ dishing out the fish across a wide variety of pop-ups.
You’ll have found them regularly at GRUB and at the supper clubs at Runaway Brewery, taking over the basement at Kosmonaut bar and for 12 weeks last summer occupying one of the containers at the Hatch food and retail hub on Oxford Road (main image).
They even provided the langoustine shells for a Manchester Beer Week collab with Marble Brewery to create a Langoustine and Pineapple Gose beer, named ‘LanGOSEtine naturally.
If that was a ‘Marmite’ brew, then they incorporated the real thing in a recent autumn special of oysters in a Marmite cream (above) with Hannah’s acclaimed chips.
Oysters, preferably Colchester, will continue to play a major role in Holy Crab at the new venue, leased until 2021. “We are planning an oyster happy hour every day after lunch,” Scot Lou tells us, also confirming their signature crab balls will be a fixture on the menu. These can be a life-changing experience – eep-fried breadcrumbs surrounding sweet, soft crab meat with a hint of chilli and cheese, served up with a brown crab mayo.
The Arndale snack menu will filled brioche buns, perked up with Szechuan spice or chipotle. For veggies there’ll be a rice bowl with a pescatatrian fish option.
“We’ll still source our fish from Dave at Out of the Blue in Chorlton. We’re constantly checking their Tweets to see what’s fresh in,” Lou added.
If that’s not a guarantee of quality we don’t know what is.