Having opened in 1946 and responsible for the creation of the Singaporean dish ‘Black Pepper Crab’ Long Beach ‘Premium’ Seafood Restaurant is widely considered something of an ‘institution’ amongst locals. From their humble beginnings, the popularity of Long Beach now means there are several large outlets dotted throughout Singapore (we visited the branch at Dempsey).
Large tanks, more reminiscent of a Sea Life Centre than a restaurant, stocked with a wonderful array of seafood and fishes dominate the main dining space. The pick of the bunch included: Live Sea Mantis, air flown French Turbots, King Crabs, Lobsters, Sea Bass and the phallically endowed Geoduck.
Long Beach is the type of place large family groups will gather on a Sunday afternoon – on the one had it all seemed a bit ‘Harvester’ whilst on the other, the freshness and quality of the seafood cannot be denied.
Whilst the whole place, from décor to service to food presentation is a bit dated* compared to newer, swankier ‘celebrity restaurants’ in Singapore, the quality of seafood and the sense of tradition is enough, in my opinion, for a meal at Long Beach to warrant a position on the list of ‘must do’ places when in town.
*Their promotional material, even features ‘Ms Kimberley Anne Byers’ who, as I’m sure you’ll remember with great clarity, was crowned ‘Ms Intercontinental’ in 1991 – the packets of wet wipes depict her proudly showing off her crabs.
To share between four people, we ordered two prawn dishes: the House Speciality Live Prawn and Live Prawn with Japanese Sake and Goji Berries. ‘Live’ obviously does not refer to how they arrive at the table but signifies that they are fished out of a tank just prior to cooking. As such, both dishes featured fresh plump prawns but it was the sweet sticky glaze of the sake prawns that got my vote.
For our clam dishes, we ordered Steamed Live Scottish Bamboo Clam with Minced Garlic Fried and Live Geoduck with XO Sauce and Broccoli – with its phallic shaped ‘siphon’, geoduck meat is unsurprisingly considered an aphrodisiac (I cannot confirm this belief) - I can however assert that the taste lies somewhere between scallops and abalone with a good crunchy texture.
It’s the Famous Live Black Pepper Crab that really draws the crowds at Long Beach. As with most seafood places of this type, you pay a seasonal price per gram; a large Sri Lankan Mud Crab can weigh in at a few kg – whatever the cost, it’s worth it for such spicy, messy goodness!
It’s not all about the seafood, the Dong Po’ Ribs with Honey Sauce and vegetable dishes of Baby Kailan with Minced Garlic and Asparagus with Minced Garlic were also excellent.