A sunny day, a beer, some good company and some pleasurable food. You need to bring the company but the new larger Miss Katie’s Crab Shack at the Rochester Castle hotel on Johnston St, formerly of North Melbourne delivers the rest. The pub has received a substantial makeover inside and out, although the layout remains basically the same.

On my first visit to their old premises, I enjoyed my meal but regretted not ordering a crab boil and I made up for this yesterday. I added prawns to the base of crab, chorizo, potatoes and corn. My friend and I also shared a small bucket of prawns, soft shell crab sliders and fries with blue cheese sauce.

crab-shack-3 lunch at the new Miss Katie's Crab Shack at the Rochester Castle hotel on Johnston St

The presentation of the food has improved along with the architecture, with the bucket of prawns coming on a bed of ice in a metal bucket not a paper cup, but the number of prawns has declined. To a degree style has compromised substance. The sliders are delicious and the boil is substantial enough for two to share.

crab-shack-1 lunch at the new Miss Katie's Crab Shack at the Rochester Castle hotel on Johnston St

Overall the experience benefits from the significant improvement on the former location, which was cramped. Accessibility is seriously lacking however, with each entrance featuring steps, and there are multiple stepped levels inside. There was no liquid soap in the dispenser of the male toilets when I visited to wash my hands after a messy meal.

crab-shack-2 lunch at the new Miss Katie's Crab Shack at the Rochester Castle hotel on Johnston St

Miss Katie’s still offers some of the best Americana food in Melbourne, but it’s not an everyday meal. These dishes plus a drink each came to over $90, which is acceptable but not great value for money, though it needs to be acknowledged that seafood is not cheap and the quality provided here is high.

crab-shack-4 lunch at the new Miss Katie's Crab Shack at the Rochester Castle hotel on Johnston St

Next time I’d pass on the 6 prawns in the bucket for $15, which could get me half a kilo of the same prawns at the Queen Victoria Market, and focus on the things I cannot easily replicate at home, such as the sliders.

I’m sure Miss Katie’s Crab Shack will do well at the Rochester Castle hotel, and it’s also pleasing to see the old pub get a new life.

lunch at the new Miss Katie’s Crab Shack at the Rochester Castle hotel on Johnston St

10 thoughts on “lunch at the new Miss Katie’s Crab Shack at the Rochester Castle hotel on Johnston St

  • 24 April 2015 at 12:15 pm
    Permalink

    Time to give it away, Brian! Grumbling about the accessibility of a 100+ year old building and the absence of “liquid soap” in the bathroom… Do you still recognise the face you see in the mirror each morning?

    The socialites of the 1970’s that you lifted the “Fitzroyalty” moniker from would be turning in their graves!!!

    Reply
    • 24 April 2015 at 2:41 pm
      Permalink

      I’ve been doing my best to remember to consider accessibility issues in my reviews since I was asked to by a reader back in 2011. If you don’t like it fuck off with your insensitive able bodied privilege. Where’s the beef usually do the same.

      As for the soap, if you can’t wash your hands after going to the toilet you may have fecal matter on your hands that can transmit bacteria and it can make you sick. If you got sick after visiting a restaurant you’d probably blame food poisoning, and the kitchen would be interrogated. There would be consequences.

      A lot of drama could be avoided if the venue took its public health responsibilities seriously and ensured there was soap in all the toilets. They could be in violation of their licence if they don’t maintain basic hygiene requirements. Not to mention making it less likely that customers would want to return.

      Reply
  • 25 April 2015 at 8:57 pm
    Permalink

    I actually appreciated your assessment of accessibility and hygiene, Brian – both crucial issues in the hospitality industry. The building may be 150 years old (and what an amazingly intact Victorian pub it is from the street), but the floor isn’t – it’s a multi-level concrete slab, with scope for ramps or chair-lifters should the venue choose to install them. On the hygiene front, even forgetting about the possibilities of disease arising from lack of soap, this place serves boiled crab dishes that require the use of hands to eat. How are you supposed to wash your hands after a messy meal without soap? Seems relevant to me. As for ‘socialites of the 1970s’ in Fitzroy … perhaps you mean, South Yarra or Brighton?

    Reply
    • 6 May 2015 at 10:34 am
      Permalink

      Bilby, Let me guess… you’ve lived in the area for a few years and now consider yourself a local… That’s great. It’s a wonderful place to live but a history lesson wouldn’t go astray…”Fitzroyalty” predates Brian’s blog believe it or not. Heck, even we latched on to it as kids 30-odd years ago…

      Reply
      • 6 May 2015 at 12:56 pm
        Permalink

        I have never claimed to have invented the term ‘Fitzroyalty’. I was aware when I started this site that there had been a previous print newsletter or zine with the same name but that it was defunct prior to 2006.

        Reply
  • 28 April 2015 at 5:12 pm
    Permalink

    G
    I quite appriciate liquid soap. At the very least it means that there is less liklihood that I will pick up residual substances from the anuses or penises of my fellow patrons after pushing the toilet door upon on my exit.

    Reply
    • 28 April 2015 at 6:25 pm
      Permalink

      To make it clear there was NO soap in the men’s toilet, just an empty liquid soap dispenser on the wall.

      Reply
      • 6 May 2015 at 10:25 am
        Permalink

        I would like to think you’d have notified them of the oversight rather than given them a bake in your review… I mean, it’s not like it’s the first time an establishment has run out of something…

        As to know, small businesses in Fitzroy (particularly new ones) have enough trouble staying afloat as is… I’m not sure snipers running around make the job any easier…

        Reply
        • 6 May 2015 at 12:53 pm
          Permalink

          Get a life. Anyone opening a new business has had council health and hygiene inspections and should have checked the bathrooms had soap, toilet paper etc before opening. I’m not their quality control manager. I’m a customer and this was my experience.

          Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *