Dining Out: Redbean, Hawthorn

by April@MyFoodTrail on June 22, 2009

in BYO Place, Dining Out, Hawthorn, Malaysian

Redbean
430 Burwood Road, Hawthorn VIC
(03) 9815 2488

Cuisine: Malaysian Chinese
BYO: Yes, $1 per person
Price: Mains around or under $20, rice $2 per person
Parking: Along Burwood Road
http://www.redbeankitchen.com.au/

A number of weeks ago, a work colleague happened to mention that there was a special on at Fu Long Chinese Restaurant in Box Hill where mud crab was around $13-$14 a pound. In case you don’t know, that is a bargain price. Mud crab at a Chinese restaurant normally ranges from anything between $20-$40 a pound. Hubby and I were so excited but due to various reasons, we weren’t able to make it there and the special ran out.

Imagine our delight when I found out that Redbean in Hawthorn was also having a cheap crab special and it was still running! I have been to Redbean a number of times, but not for about 2 years. We stopped going because we thought the quality of the food was going downhill and the serves were getting smaller. We decided to give it another try – the crab specials lured us back!

There are 3 different types of crab specials available. Ginger and spring onion crab is $13.80 per pound, Singapore chilli crab is $16.80 per pound and a curry leaf fragrant crab is $20.80. I’m not sure why there is a price difference with the different types of sauces, maybe it is more work to make the chilli and curry crabs. The night we went, the crab size was between 2.5 to 3 pounds.

There are also certain conditions that come attached to the crab. It is only available Friday and Saturday nights, you have to make a pre-order, you have to order at least one side of noodles to have with the crab and it is a cash only special price! When the lady mentioned the need to order a side of noodles, I was a bit wary and scared of how much the noodles were going to cost! It wasn’t a problem though as the noodles were only $5 per serve.

We ordered the Singapore chilli crab. I have not been able to find anywhere in Melbourne that does authentic Singapore chilli crab and for a reasonable price so I was happy to see it on the menu. The last time I had it was actually in Singapore almost 2 years ago.

When the crab arrived, hubby and I looked at each other because we could see kaffir lime leaves in the sauce!! Singapore chilli crab is supposed to be a tomato sweet chilli sauce with egg through it. As you can see below in the photo, our crab looked like it was made from a clear sauce and the tomato sauce was added as an after thought. The addition of kaffir lime leaves was really strange and it gave the sauce a tom yum thai flavour, rather than a Singapore chilli crab flavour.

Singapore chilli crab $16.80 per pound

When I mentioned that the crab was not what we were expecting from Singapore chilli crab to the lady serving us, she said it was a Malaysian style chilli crab. Then why would they call it Singapore chilli crab?? That is just plain misleading. I am suspecting that maybe they made the curry leaf crab for us and then realised their mistake and added the tomato sauce? I saw the Singapore chilli crab being delivered to the table next to us and it looked a lot more red than ours.

Anyway, sauce aside, the quality of the crab meat was really good. There was a lot of meat and it was really sweet. We got a 2.7 pound crab between us and the size of the claws are HUGE! I normally prefer the body meat to the claw meat but I was happily eating this crab claw’s meat it was so delicious.

You can order the sweet mantao bread for dipping in the sauce for $1 each. They were really yummy – so crispy on the outside but so soft and fluffy on the inside. Too bad we didn’t have the proper Singapore chilli sauce to dip the bread in.

I was full after eating the crab, but hubby wanted his serve of meat so we ordered the spicy salt chicken ribs. It is actually referred to as “Salted Chilli Chicken Chops” on the menu. The serve is quite small compared to other Chinese restaurants, but the price is less. The chicken wasn’t too oily and it was crispy, but it was a bit too salty. We were able to take the leftovers home.

Salted chilli chicken chops $14.50

It seemed like every occupied table had ordered crab of some sort! The crab was very satisfying and as there was only the two of us, we were able to eat til our heart was content! (Unlike when you go in a big group and only get one small piece!) We would go back to Redbean for the crab again but perhaps would go for the ginger and spring onion sauce next time. If any of my readers have been there/do go there and order the Singapore chilli crab, I’d be interested to know if yours had a tom yum flavour too.

Over & Out, Rilsta xx

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Mr. Taste June 22, 2009 at 8:17 pm

Wowow what a great bargain! That crab is massive. Too bad about the un-authenticness of it all, but for that price, I would eat crab in ketchup haha

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Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella June 22, 2009 at 9:27 pm

I would so be lured by those prices for crab! Pity about the Singapore/Malaysian chili crab. Would you say it was good value if it were the regular price or would you say good value at that cheaper price? 🙂

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spatulaspoonandsaturday June 23, 2009 at 9:07 pm

ooh that sounds really good. i might take my mother there because she loves crabs. do you know when the specials will run out?

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Rilsta June 24, 2009 at 9:28 am

Hi Mr Taste: Hahaha, it was a great bargain but dunno about the ketchup! 🙂

Hi Lorraine: I'm not sure what the regular price is but it is definitely a bargain now. I would pay more if I knew I could be guaranteed that the meat of the crab would be as nice as this one!

Hi Spatulaspoonandsaturday: I think your mother would love it! The crabs are huge and well priced. I'm not sure when the specials run out but give them a ring before you go to see if it is still on.

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Maria@TheGourmetChallenge June 24, 2009 at 3:01 pm

Ahhh Redbean….LOVE IT!

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Daniel June 25, 2009 at 11:05 pm

hey there

you have an awesome blog! Finally, a proper food blog that caters to malaysians (sort of).

i live in glen iris, so the restaurants you reviewed are sort of in the same part of town (east/south east).

Can't wait to go try them. HOpefully red bean will still have the crab special this weekend.

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Rilsta June 26, 2009 at 9:58 pm

Hi Maria: If you and Daz like Chinese style crab, you should check it out!

Hi Daniel: Thanks for the lovely comment and taking the time to read through my blog! As I live not too far from Glen Iris, most of the places we visit are around this area. Hubby and I love a variety of different cuisines but Chinese/Malaysian are on the top of our list!

Hope you enjoy the crab. Please do report back to let me know what you think! It makes for more interesting reading if other people leave their thoughts on the places I have visited! 🙂

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Anonymous August 29, 2009 at 4:59 pm

Great post. Took your advice and went to Redbean for their
crab. It was wonderful. Mine had the Tom Yum taste as well. I think it is just the way they do it. I still loved it. Thanks heaps for the recommendation.

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Rilsta August 31, 2009 at 11:38 am

Hi Anonymous: No worries! Glad to hear you enjoy the crab!

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Anonymous September 9, 2009 at 3:38 pm

After reading your review about Red Bean, we thought we'd give it a go. I live in the Springvale area and Springvale food is very cheap..so considering this restaurant is in Hawthorn the prices were very good and there was so much variety. We tried the crab on one occasion on a Friday night and it was very nice. The waitresses were quite friendly, our plates were constantly replenished and they kept topping up our tea for us. Which is not the service you would get at Srpingvale! Overall very good restaurant. We've been back 3 times now. We were there last week and they still have the crab specials on Friday and Saturday nights.

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Rilsta September 11, 2009 at 2:27 pm

Hi Anonymous: Great to know you enjoyed it! I can't believe you travelled all the way from Springvale to Hawthorn and so many times too! Though I'm sure if there was a great special in Springvale, I would travel the distance too! 🙂

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Anonymous September 16, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Hi Rilsta,
Eating locally gets boring so we dont mind driving to different places. We're thinking of maybe checking out the Penang Coffee House in Hawthorn tonight. We've driven pass a few times and i always wondered why it was so busy and not until i read your review did i realise it was an actual restaurant (I thought it was a coffee place!!) Will let you know what we think. Keep up the great reviews!!!

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Rilsta September 17, 2009 at 10:09 am

Hi Anonymous: Thanks for your comments! Hope you enjoy Penang Coffee House.

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