Chef unveils new dish to rival his famous crab doughnut
All good things come to an end – but for Norwich chef Iain McCarten, taking off the menu his signature dish was a bitter pill to swallow.
The now famous crab doughnut, served up at the Last Brasserie on St George's Street, may only be available for a few more days - but customers need not be disappointed. That's because Iain has dreamed up something equally zany to take its place.
Make way for the oxtail and beef dripping doughnut which is taking over from its predecessor with aplomb from Monday. And Iain is keeping his chef's fingers crossed it will be the sure-fire success like his crab version.
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"Crab is almost out of season but I was thinking should I let the crab doughnut go or evolve it?" said Iain. "So, I've taken the same sourdough base but instead of butter inside, I'm putting beef fat and braised oxtail instead of the crab, the gravy soaks up the doughnut and it comes with a chilli and oyster mayonnaise. Beef and oyster are old-school favourites together and you get the combination of the richness of the beef and the saltiness of the oyster. It's still in development as it's all about getting the balance of ingredients like the crab doughnut.
"And the crab doughnut will be back next April."
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Iain has enjoyed huge success with his unusual starter becoming a sought-after dish and he said customers booking for this coming weekend had been checking they could still get it. The crab doughnut will take its bow, appearing on the menu for the last time until next year, on Monday lunchtime - with the oxtail alternative taking centre stage on the menu from Monday evening onwards.
And after Iain posted an image of the new version on Instagram, it's already garnered a thumbs-up from anonymous food critic The Fry-Up Inspector. It was after a review by this foodie writer that got the crab doughnut noticed and after this newspaper featured it, what was concocted as a light starter became a real heavyweight success.
The crab doughnut first appeared on Iain's menu when the Last re-opened after a revamp in September, after the restaurant was bought out by a consortium of local investors. The crab doughnut was made from white crab meat mixed with creme fraiche, parsley, chives, lemon and finely diced cucumber, with a lemon puree drizzled over the top.