It’s been more than two years since Gideon James made Cajun and chilli crab more accessible to Brisbane diners, opening St. James Crabhouse & Kitchen in Kangaroo Point.
James has since stepped back slightly from St. James, taking on a directorship role with current owner Aman Grewal’s Alaskan Food Group as it expands the crabhouse to a new location inside the Hamilton Harbour complex.
The new restaurant’s fit-out has been done in-house and is once again inspired by Boston’s popular crab shacks. Black tiles line the space behind the bar while a street art-style mural sprawls over a feature wall. The venue will seat 50 inside and 45 outside, where large, shared dry-bars will border the space.
“Depending on how we go, we do actually have the opportunity to expand out as well,” says manager Stephen Hazlett, who joined the team after a stint consulting on the FV Peppers opening.
A bigger store than the Kangaroo Point location, it will also have an extended menu, particularly when it comes to lunch and drink options.
“We will be adding to the starters and a few more lunch-friendly styles,” Hazlett says. “[It’s] more in the vein of share plates – light, but still very much around what we do.”
Fullerton Hotel alum and Singaporean Anton Agnal continues as St. James’s head chef, rotating market specials against an everyday menu of crab, seafood, ribs and other proteins. Regular options include Alaskan king crab, snow crab and Australian blue swimmers, packed and cooked in a bag with sauces such as New Orleans Cajun or Singapore chilli (a popular option, given Agnal’s background). If you don’t like crab, St. James also offers American-style burgers and slow-cooked charred pork.
Drinks lean heavily on wines that match with the seafood, so champagne, riesling, sauvignon blanc and white blends. Four beers are available on tap.
“The service and food will be the same [as the Kangaroo Point store],” Hazlett says. “It will be a bit more up-market, but still fun, arms deep into crab. We don’t want to change that it’s fun and it’s messy.”
St. James Crabhouse & Kitchen will open Wednesday July 18 at 485 Kingsford Smith Drive in Hamilton.