MANILA -- Spanish food finds a new home in the South as Cangrejos Locos opens at the Molito Lifestle Center in Alabang, Muntinlupa.
Translated as “crazy crabs,” the restaurant is the brainchild of three successful restaurateurs—chef Robby Goco (Cyma, Souv, Green Pastures), Manny Torrejon (Manolo’s), and Raymund Magdaluyo (Red Crab, Crustasia). Together, they have created a restaurant that fits well with the south — a no-fuss concept that they’ve been careful to price right and imbue with interesting takes on familiar Spanish flavors.
“We’ve really been cooking this idea for a few years, a really long time already. We wanted to open something that was fun and priced right with flavors that are bold,” Goco said during the restaurant’s recent media launch in early this month.
With an ambiance that combines the fiery colors of Latin culture with modern touches like plastic crates and art, it looks like a hip Spanish bodega and feels like a friend’s casa that you’ve been invited to for dinner.
There are many things to notice in the restaurant like the walls festooned with art and the open kitchen where paellas are cooked to order — a sight to behold. It takes all of 12 minutes to cook one order — a great thing when you’re being tortured with the delicious aromas wafting your way from the bubbling pans.
These are not your typical Filipino paellas. Barcelona-style, it’s a thinner spread on the paellera where you get maximum socarrat (crispy rice) and a punchy bite of rice cooked with any of the three stocks (mushrooms, seafood, chicken) that Cangrejos Locos uses to flavor their paellas. Starting at P450 (with Goco promising an even more affordable version coming soon) for 3 people, these paellas have been quickly winning dinners with Cangrejos Locos’ kitchen proudly setting a record of serving 73 paellas in a day.
But it’s not all about the "arroz" at Cangrejos Locos. As its name implies (as well as Magdaluyo’s participation), seafood, specifically crab, is a specialty. While there are just three crab dishes on the menu, we can vouch for the two dishes we tasted being lip-smackingly addictive.
Whether you start your meal with some tapas, or go straight to paellas, there’s something for everyone in the family looking for their Spanish fix in Cangrejos Locos.
Here's what to expect:
Gildas. There’s something to be said about starting your meal with something salty and tart. In this Tapas Frias, house-made anchovies are wrapped around a pickled guindilla (chilies) and skewered with olives. Jeeves de Veyra
Navajas. This dish isn’t on the current menu as razor clams are not always available, but if you’re a fan of razor clams, this dish makes the ingredient shine with just olive oil, salt and lemon. Jeeves de Veyra
Polito Loco. While the salpicao may be a more obvious choice in the tapas menu, the Polito Loco is hands-down one of this author’s favorite dishes. Fried chicken using a poussin (like a small spring chicken), it tastes akin to a popular chicken joint’s empire building chicken but in a small easy-to-eat portion. The cinnamon banana ketchup also seals the deal. Jeeves de Veyra
Lobster Paella. This luxurious upgrade to the seafood paella is bursting with seafood umami. Jeeves de Veyra
Mushroom and Asparagus Cauliflower Paella. While we were originally served the richer Bone Marrow Cauliflower Paella, Chef Goco insisted on serving this low-carb vegetarian paella which won praises tableside with its umami and clean flavors. (All paellas can be upgraded to a cauli-version, just ask your wait staff). Jeeves de Veyra
Fideua Negra. Instead of rice (they serve Japanese rice by default, but diners can upgrade to bomba rice), Fideua uses thin noodles that turn into crispy strands infused with squid ink and seafood broth. Jeeves de Veyra
Roasted Garlic Grab with Angulas. Crab sautéed in butter with roasted garlic, slightly salty angulas, sundried tomatoes and mushrooms. Yes, it tastes as good as it reads. Jeeves de Veyra
Crabs Roberto. The other lip-smacking crab dish we tasted, this dish had sweet crab meat sauced with egg, crab fat, ginger, garlic and mushrooms. You will need a lot of rice -- or baskets of bread. Jeeves de Veyra
Fabada. This bean stew was easy to love with creamy white beans flavored with a light hand of paprika and scrumptious morcillas. Jeeves de Veyra
Rabo de Toro. Beef stew Spanish-style, the beef was dark, rich, and so succulent and tender -- a testament to its long stew. Jeeves de Veyra
Basque Cheesecake. End your meal creamy and cheesy with that trademark burnt top with the Basque cake. Other popular Spanish options like churros and crème Catalan are also available. Jeeves de Veyra