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.
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.
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.
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.
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.