Dressed Brown Crab and Buttered Crumpets by Roy Brett of Ondine

This March, we are starting our celebrations for our 10th year in business at Ondine by inviting my good friend and highly regarded chef, Tom Brown to cook with us for one day only. We have lined up some of the most exciting and influential chefs from around the country throughout the year to celebrate the joy of cooking and sharing ideas.

The unique Sunday lunch on the 17th of March will be a showcase of the finest fish and shellfish, inspired by flavours of Tom’s restaurant menu in Hackney Wick, Cornerstone. As a one-off event, it will be a highly sought after ticket for those with a love of great seafood.

This dish is dedicated to Tom as I remember making this exact dish to welcome Tom to Edinburgh. He adored it, with the balance of flavours and the different satisfying textures. I must say, it’s a personal favourite of mine too and it often features on our table during a weekend at home with the family.

Crab is such a pleasure to work with. It’s such a fine animal and it must be treated properly. This is the ethos we have built Ondine on - with the utmost respect for every single ingredient that enters into our kitchen. We utilise every part of the crab, the shells make an incredible oil, the head meat is turned into mayonnaise and the meat from the claws are picked through for the delicate white crab meat.

There is a little work in preparing this dish, but I can assure you the satisfaction of making your own mayonnaise and crumpets is truly worthwhile. My fish merchant, Welch Fishmongers, based in Newhaven, Edinburgh, prepares white and brown crab meat. It’s worth asking your local independent fish merchant to prepare the crab for you as it makes the dish even simpler to make.

Ondine is located 2 George IV Bridge in Edinburgh. For more information about Ondine, visit www.ondinerestaurant.co.uk or call 0131 226 1888.

Serves 4


For the crumpet mix:

200ml milk

160g flour

8g yeast

4g salt

4g sugar

Olive oil, for frying

For the brown crab mayonnaise:

100g mayonnaise

40g brown crab meat

Salt and pepper, for seasoning

For the polonaise:

30g breadcrumbs

Small bunch parsley, chopped

½ red onion, diced

1 boiled egg, sieved

20ml olive oil

Salt and pepper, for seasoning

For the dressed crab:

200g picked white crab meat

100g brown shrimps

1 lemon, juice only

1 tsp brown crab mayonnaise (as directed above)

Pinch of nutmeg

Salt and pepper, for seasoning


1. Ahead of serving, make the crumpet mix. Place the flour, sugar, salt and yeast into a mixing bowl. Warm the milk in a thick-bottomed pan and then add it to the dry ingredients. Mix well then cover with cling film. Allow to prove for 4 hours. At this point, it will be quite active and bubbly.

2. Once the crumpets have proved and you are ready to begin cooking, first, make the brown crab mayonnaise. In an electric mixer, blend the brown crab meat until it becomes smooth then fold in the mayonnaise and season, then set aside.

3. Next, make the polonaise. Heat up the olive oil in a non-stick pan. Place all the ingredients into the pan. Cook for a few minutes over a low heat until golden brown. Season well and then set aside on kitchen roll.

4. Next, cook the crumpets. In a non-stick pan, add a little olive oil and spoon the crumpet mixture in gently. Let the crumpet bubble with air pockets before turning. This process takes only take a few minutes. Once the crumpets are cooked, set aside for serving.

5. To serve, fold a little of the brown crab mayonnaise together with the crab meat and the brown shrimps to make the dressed crab. Add a little lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Place in the centre of the plate and add a little of the brown crab mayonnaise on top and then sprinkle with polonaise and dust with nutmeg. Serve with the crumpets on the side.