'I can't make them fast enough' says chef after his odd sounding starter becomes a culinary craze
PUBLISHED: 06:00 23 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:12 23 September 2019
A head chef at a newly-opened Norwich restaurant has created a rather bizarre-sounding starter and diners can't get enough of it.
Iain McCarten, at the Last Brasserie on St George's Street, wasn't sure people would even want to eat his crab doughnut - but it's been a sure-fire winner.
The dish looks like it should ooze raspberry jam but instead is a savoury mixture of Cromer crab and herbs - and hundreds have been sold since the restaurant opened. The team of chefs are now making batches of them to keep up the supply.
Crab doughnuts and crumpets are a current trend on menus, particularly in London, but Iain's starter is his own recipe. He said: "I thought it was a bit of a risk, I thought people might think it was the most stupid thing ever on a menu but luckily it went the other way. We've had a lot of feedback on social media and they photograph well.
"The crab doughnuts actually take quite a long time to make as we make the sourdough from scratch which needs to prove ideally overnight. We can't make them fast enough."
Iain was going to do a starter with a small doughnut on the side but then decided to put the ingredients together. He makes the sourdough bread with any excess used for crackers on the restaurant cheese board; apparently the mixture is lighter and more easily digestible than a more traditional, heavier doughnut.
Then the white crab meat is mixed with creme fraiche, parsley, chives, lemon and finely diced cucumber and put inside with a 'sugar' coating which is actually made from salt with a little cinnamon and cayenne pepper. A lemon puree made from zest and buttermilk is added together with the brown crab meat which is combined with tabasco, more cayenne pepper, samphire and mayonnaise to give it a little kick.
His dish really took off after anonymous Norwich blogger The Fry-Up Inspector, who has 11,000 followers on Instagram, posted on social media how good it was.
Iain is currently changing the menu as ingredients go out of season and new ones like Brancaster mussels come in but because of the popularity of the crab doughnut, is leaving this on until the next menu change.
The Last Brasserie and bar re-opened recently after a transformation after the business was bought by a consortium of business bosses. Meanwhile work is currently going on to convert the Cellar into a private dining area.