January 2019: Soneva, the world-leading luxury resort operator, has been busy with the creation of Soneva Jani’s latest addition to its culinary offerings, the Crab Shack. The 32 cover restaurant and 14 seat bar is located on Soneva Jani’s southwest beach, on the opposite side of the island to Cinema Paradiso, and is comprised of two levels. The ground floor is taken up by the restaurant, kitchen and bar area, with the first floor deck designed especially for guests to relax on tiered daybeds and enjoy the Maldivian sunsets while sipping on rosé wine or other beverages.
The Crab Shack is open for lunch and dinner with an á la carte menu. Upstairs serves only drinks and light snacks. While no local crabs will be on the menu (watch The Mangrove Network video from the Change-Maker Series), Sri Lankan mud crabs, Alaskan crabs and Kamchatka crabs (all Marine Stewardship Council certified) are the highlights. Each day the Crab Shack will only serve one type of crab on a rotating basis. The dishes that can be ordered include chili crab, crab curry (both Thai and Sri Lankan varieties of curry), garlic crab, black pepper crab, Szechuan spicy wok-fried crab, Vietnamese wok-fried crab with tamarind, ginger and black pepper.
The menu is also supplemented with Mediterranean dishes, including marinated sardines, mussels meunière, crab and seafood bouillabaisse (subject to availability), spicy seafood salad, and a ceviche of the day. There will also be a seafood platter that includes soft shell crabs, calamari, scallops and more. This platter can be ordered cold or warm (steamed, wok-fried or barbecued). A number of vegetable based side dishes will also be available, using organic greens from the resort’s gardens. Dishes include broccoli with caramelised garlic and marinated artichokes. When it comes to drinks there will be a focus on rosé and Sauvignon Blanc, while there will also be a selection of red wine.
Guests will get to dine barefoot, with toes in the sand, in line with Soneva’s ‘No News, No Shoes’ ethos. The Crab Shack is open-air, allowing for the cool sea breeze to flow through and uninterrupted views out across the lagoon, towards the sunset.
The design of the restaurant and bar uses reclaimed wood and driftwood timber to offer guests a rustic shack experience, while also giving a nod to how Maldivian’s traditionally built their homes before they had conventional building materials. Diners will be sitting around repurposed trunk logs with recycled glass plate supports and reclaimed barrels. There is a central common table, while there are tables of four around it, all of which can be rearranged depending on the number of parties. The main pillars of support are made of whole trunks of the tree.