My writer Tania has fond memories of Mandurah, she took a trip down memory lane when she went for a drive to preview the Mandurah crabfest long table lunch menu. Keep scrolling for her story and more details about the Mandurah crabfest long table lunch which will be held on Sunday 20 March…
Mandurah CrabFest rose from the ashes of The Kanyana Carnival which ran from 1966 to 1988 as a way of generating tourism for the Peel region. Now in its 18th year, CrabFest has evolved from parades and show rides into the largest free regional community family event, attracting over 140,000 people to Mandurah annually.
For many of those early years, my siblings and I would discard our daily wardrobe of bathers and barefeet for sundresses, shorts and thongs to jostle for a front row seat under a shady tree to watch Mandurah’s answer to the Christmas pageant, before racing to the carnival at the foreshore.
Every Christmas school holidays we’d catch blowfish with a handline off the old jetty, giggling as the prickly critters puffed themselves up. We’d squeal when freezing water dribbled into our wellies as we waded through the estuary, dabbing for prawns. We’d yell, triumphant, after pulling up big blueys in dad’s home-made crab nets. Many years have passed since I made those memories but the taste of freshly caught seafood will never be forgotten.
The opportunity to revisit Mandurah and sample seafood for the annual CrabFest that I didn’t have to catch, cook, peel or shell, was too good to miss. An hour’s drive from Perth, the once sleepy town is now a thriving city, with high rises and top class restaurants, while still maintaining its beachy feel.
foodie cravings was invited to the Long Table Lunch taster at Catch 22 and my taste buds were tingling. The menu we previewed is a collaborative 6 course delight, with dishes supplied by several restaurants in the Marina. Mandurah Crabfest’s Long Table Lunch is on Sunday 20 March and tickets are $220 each. Keep reading with an empty stomach for more details…
Our first course was a selection of Atlantic, Thai and natural oysters from the Oyster Bar. I have never been a fan of the slippery molluscs but one of my dining companions, Neville Groves, a contestant on the current series of My Kitchen Rules urged me to try one. I chose an oyster combined with a sliver of salmon and was pleasantly surprised. It tasted fresh and slightly salty. My brother Troy liked the natural oyster with a squeeze of lemon but preferred the chilli and coriander. He said it wasn’t hot but he could tell it was there.
The presentation of my Thai-spiced watermelon soup with crab meat, from Catch 22, was amazing. The claw meat seemed a tiny bit floury but the crab meat ball with soy, coriander, sweet chilli and breadcrumbs tasted delicious. The soup had a little bite to it and the unusual addition of watermelon provided a unique contrasting flavour. Nev summed it up saying, “it’s like an explosion in your mouth”.
The alternate dish was a tropical prawn ceviche with pineapple crisp from Nino’s. It looked like a refreshing summer salad you’d eat in the Bahamas and the consensus was that it was so light, it could be eaten all day!
Prawn and crab arancini balls on a red pepper and tomota salsa with Dijon aioli and parmesan from Sharky’s, appeared next and I devoured two of them, giving one to my brother to try. The flavours of the seafood were subtle and the zing of the sauce really tantalised the tastebuds. I found them very filling and possibly my favourite food of the day.
Troy ate Shakshouka served with Turkish chorizo and king tiger prawns by Café Moka. He enjoyed the spicy kick it gave and his only complaint was the lack of prawns. With only two in the bowl, he was reluctant to share one with me but boasted they were sweet!
I felt full by the time dessert from Catch 22 was delivered, so I only managed a few bites of the strawberry and cream roulade. The strawberry was the freshest I think I have ever eaten, it was juicy and full of flavour. The light and fluffy marshmallow, white chocolate and toffee were perfectly decadent. I did manage to find room for the chocolate but Troy finished off the rest.
On a perfect 30 degree day, I washed everything down with an ice cold coke, Troy swallowed a few Crownies but the hibiscus mojitos were a hit with Nev and his partner Kellie Griffiths.
Nev and Kellie will be hosting cooking demonstrations at the Mandurah CrabFest on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th March so come along and mingle with local celebrities, taste the 40 crab dishes on offer or book a place at the Long Table Lunch. You won’t be disappointed. Though Mandurah has changed and grown over the years, it’s refreshing to know the seafood is still as abundant and delicious as it always was.
Disclaimer: foodie cravings was invited to Mandurah crabfest long table lunch taster as a guest of the City of Mandurah, for more details see disclosure policy.