When was the last time you ate crab? For the majority of us, it’s probably been a while.

“Most people only eat crab once or twice a year,” says Gideon James, owner of Kangaroo Point’s new American-style St. James Crabhouse & Kitchen. “We want to make it more accessible.”

St. James’ menu has four types of crab, as well as prawns, mussels and seasonal catches, which are served with your choice of sauce. If you’re feeling shy, don’t be. You will definitely need the supplied bib, gloves and tools to get through this type of food.

“Who says you can’t play with your food?” James says. “We want people to appreciate food – to touch it, photograph it and eat it with their hands. Everything tastes better when you eat with your hands.”

James, along with consultant Daniel Hansen and head chef Anton Agnal, has spent the better part of eight months sourcing the seafood and getting the recipes right. Agnal comes to St. James from Singapore’s Fullerton Hotel, meaning the Singapore chilli sauce is a popular choice so far. New Orleans Cajun, Baltimore garlic and butter, citrus beurre blanc and Newport marinara round out the choices.

It doesn’t end there. There’s also American 12-hour cooked beef ribs and the St. James Classic Cheese Burger, both topped with a house-made barbeque sauce. Sides range from mixed greens to shoestring truffle fries, crab cheese chilli poppers and grilled corn on the cob.

The concise drinks menu includes two Stone & Wood brews on tap, a few bottled beers and five varieties of wine, all served by the glass.

After just four days of trade, James decided to take over the upstairs floor space. Forty-two seats, he says, just aren’t enough to keep up with demand. The second level should be ready in a couple months and beyond that, James hopes this will be the first of many crabhouses for Brisbane.

St. James Crabhouse & Kitchen
Shop 5, 22 Baildon Street, Kangaroo Point

Wed to Sun 11:30am–3pm; 5pm–10pm