Long Beach @ Stevens is relatively small compared to their other outlets but it has an elegant, pristine look that one would expect of a restaurant within a hotel property. My foodie buddy and I were led to a side stall table which was cool as it has a reflective wall which was very handy for us to check whether we had food bits or sauces on our faces every now and then! Before the dishes were served, our drink orders were taken and seafood-feasting essentials such as paper aprons, plastic gloves and finger bowls were readily provided.
The first dish served was the Golden Stripe Lobster, which is basically Canadian lobster stir-fried with sweet cereal flakes. The thick meaty flesh was extremely fresh and succulent, coming off the shell easily, and the flakes were so crispy that we were happily spooning it and eating it on its own.
The Popular Chili Crab was up next and seriously this is and has always been Long Beach’s star item. Besides the fact that huge, fresh Sri Lankan crabs are used, it is the magnificent gravy that has the right amount of tomato and chili – not too sweet, not too hot – that make this one of Singapore’s most popular dishes. We have eaten at many different seafood places—from restaurants to hawker zi char stalls—and truly Long Beach’s chili crab is still arguably the best.
As we were plowing through the crab, we were actually asked by the manager if we’d like them to peel the crab meat for us. We were rather puzzled ‘cos this was the first time we heard of such a service but—just like durian is more enjoyable when you eat it off the shell and not from a styrofoam box—we politely declined as one of the joys of eating chili or pepper crab is to dig out the meat directly from its shell with your mouth and hands (and preferably without gloves)!
Of course another joy of eating chili crab is lapping up the delicious gravy with either Fried or Steam Buns, or white rice if you are a “fan tong” (Cantonese for “rice bucket”; also slang for “idiot”.) I’m a “fan tong” but when it comes to chili crab, it’s mantou for me and I’m glad the buns served are not the mini ones but decently medium-sized and served warm, soft and yummy.
As if being deep-fried and smothered in a thick rich pepper sauce isn’t enough, the Famous Black Pepper Crab, another Long Beach signature dish, was actually served with an extra bowl of black pepper sauce. The manager explained that when customers request for the crab meat to be peeled for them, the extra pepper sauce is used to pour over the meat. Ah-so. Well, the pepper on the crab was already sharp and robust enough and we were more than happy to eat it the old fashioned way—with our hands. Of course if you are having a business meeting or other important meet-ups, asking for the meat to be peeled is probably a good idea ‘cos chili/pepper crab eating can get rather messy as you know.
Last but not least, we came to the “health part” – a vegetable dish in the form of Claypot Mushrooms with Baby Cabbage, which is a delicious combo even for this carnivore. It’s definitely a change from our usual choice of stir-fried kangkong or kailan.
Most of the dishes served are quite big portions, so having a companion or two to share is probably a must unless you have a huge appetite. Besides the usual seafood suspects, other specialties at Long Beach @ Stevens include Thai Emperor Prawn, BBQ Live Golden Phoenix Fish, Live Canadian Geoduck, and Classic White Pepper Alaskan King Crab. Most items have fixed prices but some are priced at market rates, so be sure to ask for a rough estimate of the seafood item before ordering.
Usually I would have beer with seafood but as it was lunch time, I decided to go with lime juice instead which I kinda regret immediately as it was a tad too sour for my taste but as I was so focused on eating, I kept forgetting to ask for sugar syrup. My pal went for a coconut which was a better choice especially when half-way through, the offer to “dig out the meat” for her was given. Needless to say, she readily said “Yes!” A coconut is always good as it is like a refreshing drink and sweet dessert rolled into one.
Besides the great food, the service at Long Beach @ Stevens is also top-notch, rather outstanding for a Chinese restaurant. Our plates were replaced at regular intervals, water topped up without our asking, and a waitress was thoughtful enough to give us straws for the water glasses so that our hands would be free to tackle the food. Every effort was made to ensure that diners are as comfortable as possible as they tackle the art of eating crab, which is very good service as far as we are concerned.
So, good to know that there is now a Long Beach in town that we can consider if our regular go-to outlet at Dempsey is packed. It’s definitely a nice place for big friends or family gatherings, or an intimate chow-down with a fellow seafood-loving friend.
Long Beach @ Stevens is at 30 Stevens Road #01-10 (next to Hotel Mercure on Stevens), Singapore 257840. Opens daily 11am-3pm / 5pm-12am. Tel: 6445 8833 or email email@example.com