Last year, Bea’s of Bloomsbury launched the now legendary all-you-can-eat crawfish boil nights. I snapped up some tickets pretty early, but of course one of my “cooler-than-thou” friends had already been to the opening night.
He imparted some good advice: “Don’t worry when the first few trays are emptied. Soon, there will be so much food that you won’t be able to see straight”.
More sage wisdom was shared by Bea herself: “This is a not a feast for the faint-hearted…come in clothes that you may need to burn in shame afterwards.”
Sure enough the evening was as epic as predicted; Mark and I left stuffed to the gills and stinking of spicy seafood juice which seemed to saturate every pore. We were keen to return to Bea’s spot under the arches near Maltby St Market a second time as old pros.
Knowing there would be no plates or cutlery – just trestle tables spread with newspaper and industrial-sized rolls of blue kitchen paper as a feeble barrier against the inevitable overspill of crawfish juice, spiced butter, cocktail sauces, Tabasco and booze – we came prepared.
Mark even picked an old smock-like shirt to be his designated crawfish outfit.
Also known as crayfish, mud bugs, fresh water lobsters and countless other names, crawfish are related to the lobster family and have similar firm, juicy and sweet white flesh.
The best bit is the tail and there’s a bit of a knack to extracting this gold: twist the head off, get your fingernail between a couple of the ridges at the top and then pull the whole tail out cleanly before dunking in your sauce of choice.
Bea boils her crawfish with thick slices of sausage, spices, potatoes and corn on the cob.
Better yet, these are pesky American crawfish which now overrun UK rivers so by eating them, we were doing our bit to help the native UK white-clawed crayfish population.
Say hello to my little friend…
And my even littler friend…
All washed down with a bucket o’ beers:
The Southern-style atmosphere is great; relaxed and informal, with everyone chatting to their table-mates, passing condiments and helping dump full plates of shells into the binbags at the end of each table. Being complicit in such copious crawfish carnage is a sure way to make fast friends!
The fun doesn’t stop once you’ve had your fill; our new table buddy (and birthday boy) made some gruesome finger puppets with the remaining heads.
Tickets are £32 per person for all you can eat Crawfish, sauces, butters, sides and dessert. Drinks are extra – we paid a reasonable £14 for a bucket of five beers.
Bea has extended the dates until the end of October 2013 due to popular demand. Book now!