Five years ago, we moved from North Yorkshire to Milton Keynes. We love it (and you can read all about why here: Five years on – my love letter to Milton Keynes) and we’ve never looked back…apart from the longing glances over our shoulders, at the Crab and Lobster restaurant in Asenby.
We loved it. Truly loved it. When we lived in Ripon, it was the place we went to – birthdays, anniversaries or ‘just because’ before our children were born, and then rare dinners out in those days of early parenthood. The first time we left our son for the evening was at six months old, and we went to the Crab and Lobster, because we couldn’t wait any longer for the little slice of heaven. And it really was one of my regrets about leaving the county of my birth.
Every time we’ve visited Yorkshire since moving, it’s been for a reason – a wedding, a birthday, a pitstop to more family in Scotland – not occasions during which you can sneak off for a cheeky ‘table a deux’, unfortunately. So I decided there was only one way I was going to get my hands on some Lobster action: and that was to make the entire Yorkshire trip revolve around a prized dinner reservation at the Crab and Lobster. And this half term, we that’s what we did. Walking back into that place put the biggest smile on my face, and I don’t think it shifted all evening.
What makes it so special? Surely we have a veritable feast of eateries to choose from in Milton Keynes and nearby? Why yes, we do, and we’ve tried hard to find somewhere to match it – but nowhere has come close. Here’s why.
The food – of course.
The menu, thank the gods, has not changed in five years. The best – I mean THE best – lobster thermidor you’ve every tasted. Mr RLC Words does not like fish; he will happily say that to anyone who asks; But I swear he indulges in daydreams about their lobster thermidor, because I know I do. Mustard and brandy cream sauce, succulent lobster and scallop, perfectly cooked potato – it is, frankly, incomparable. I’ve never tasted anything like it before or since. And that’s just one of their dishes.
The décor – it’s amazing.
It’s stuffed with fascinating curios: toys, musical instruments, empty champagne Magnums, Jeroboams and Methuselahs, fishing nets, antique books, vintage signs – much of it hanging from the ceiling. We’ve been coming to The Crab for 10 years now, and we’ve still not seen everything. It means you don’t really care how long it takes for the next course to arrive.
The 1930s atmosphere…
The dress is smart casual, so even if you don’t look the part, stepping into The Crab takes you into a 1930s bubble for the evening. You are absorbed by the curios, objets d’art, and fabulous vintage jazz (the soothing croons of Ella Fitzgerald, The Inkspots and their contemporaries are your constant dining companions), and the heady, relaxed hedonism of the 30s is irresistible. And so is that second large glass of Malbec.
It’s intimate, but exquisitely professional.
Tables are impossible to get at weekends on a whim, and really it’s wise to book in advance whenever you want to go; and in a county the geographical size of North Yorkshire, with a nearby customer base that’s minute compared with a city restaurant, that is no mean feat. So they are certainly popular; but as a guest, you never feel part of a conveyor belt. My favourite occasion was a booking we had on the night they were hosting a wedding. We were given one of two small tables in an upstairs room we’d never been to before, with the same dusky décor, plump feather cushions, shaded lamps and low ceilings; but it felt like being in a 1930s sitting room for the evening. Just wonderful.
So we sat, we ate (Twice Baked Cheeseboard Soufflé, followed by Lobster Thermidor – the stuff of our actual dreams), we drank, and we remembered…all the times we’d been before, what it meant to us, and how wonderful it was to be back. And we will be back again.
Explore for yourself: https://crabandlobster.co.uk/restaurant/menus/ and I beg you to try the lobster thermidor, just once…