Burger madness at Shrimpy's
|The Shrimpy's soft shell crab burger
Sadly the burger sounds better than it tastes and looks, which is like a heart attack on a plate. The overwhelming odour of stale chip fat wafting from the plate when this monstrosity was placed in front of me instantly reminded of drunken pit-stops at Mr Fish opposite Queen's Park tube station where I generally stop for a late night fix of fat-soaked fish and chips to mop up excess alcohol in a vain attempt to ward off an impending hangover. That smell was the primary flavour here too. I think it is actually an ingredient - when I pressed down on a spidery crab leg, a slick of oil emerged which was not an entirely pleasant sight.
To make this a 16 quid (!) burger, Shrimpy's smear some guacamole over the fried crustacean and drizzle over a spicy tomato relish before topping with little gem lettuce leaves and wedging it all between a pretty tasty bun. I usually love a good soft shell crab, especially in a Vietnamese style, so I was disheartened by this take and I suggest you avoid tasting it. If you're curious, you'll still be able to smell it from the other tables.
|Roasted calamari, black olive tapenade
|Sweetcorn chowder, salsa, sour cream
Apart from the nightmare of the soft shell crab burger, we ordered the "Scrapple, chicory and coriander 'slaw" which was the cheapest main on the menu at 10.50. I'm glad we asked what scrapple is because it was delicious. It's basically a hash made with meat trimmings, and Shrimpy's uses pork belly in its version. It's fried to give a crispy exterior with a still slightly mushy centre. The crunchy slaw had a great smoky chipotle dressing. We went with a side of humita, which is a creamed sweet corn and was a perfect match. The humita bowl was basically licked clean.
|Scrapple, chicory and coriander slaw
|Pineapple crisps, mascarpone cream, raspberries, mint
|Chocolate brownie and pistachio sundae
Shrimpy's is an odd place to categorise. Urbanspoon file it under American and Mexican, although there are nods to South America in there too with dishes like humita and others on the menu. I guess given the location, it had to have a "signature dish" and the soft shell crab burger was enough to entice me out to the back of Kings Cross station where the footfall from hungry diners is probably not the heaviest, especially on weekends. If you do go, and I'm on the fence as to whether I would recommend it given the few hits and many misses, avoid the expensive gimmick and stick with some simple homestyle dishes and you'll be rewarded well enough for your intrepid orienteering.