Venues

The Deckhouse Crab Shack and BBQ

The Deckhouse Crab Shack and BBQ
Write a Review
Cost
R130
Ambience
Groups, Kids, Special occasions
Food
Burgers, Food from the Americas, Light meals, Seafood
Payment
Mastercard, Visa
Corkage
No BYO

Critic's review

Katharine Jacobs

Cape Town loves a new concept, so when Agnes Renault of Manna Epicure announced that she was opening up a Gulf-coast-style crab shack in the old Jackal and Hyde space on Kloof Street, there was a flurry of excitement. The Deckhouse Crab Shack and BBQ was jam-packed on its opening weekend. Katharine Jacobs nabbed a table to get a first taste of the soul food.

Food
We kick off with a deck sampler, as it offers a chance to sample the greatest variety of starters. There’s a chubby jalapeño on a stick (presumably a Jeff Dunham reference) stuffed with cream cheese and dipped in corn batter; a cheesy corn dog (a cheesy Vienna-style sausage, dipped in corn batter); crispy battered squid; and buffalo wings. We also try the shrimp popcorn, a generous serving of piping-hot battered shrimp with tartare sauce.

All in all we’ve made a rather batter-centric selection – and I’m reminded of the feeling of being slowly battered from the inside on a recent visit to Georgia in the States. Sadly, the batter in question is a little thick, and ever so slightly too oily for my liking. If you’re not feeling digestively strong enough for this, I’d recommend the Jim Bean buffalo wings – the smoky bourbon sauce is a glorious sweet and tangy barbecue-style confection – or one of the steamed seafood dishes.

For mains, I’m keen to try some crab. Seemingly the most affordable way to do this is to order a small bucket of soft shell crabs at R90 for three. As the idea is to eat the whole thing, shell and all, it makes sense that these guys are also battered. Their flavour, beneath the batter, is a new one to me, but the batter does tend to drown the subtle sweetness.

Another way to try the crabs is to order the impressive but pricey crabby pot (R325). Whole crayfish, snow crab, mussels, prawns and a slightly spicy sausage are steamed up in a marinara, hot Thai or garlic and herb sauce. We steel ourselves to try it – and it’s pretty good. The snow crab legs are particularly delicious: a sweeter, slightly firmer version of crayfish.

The ribs from the barbecue section of the menu, meanwhile, are some of the best I’ve had in Cape Town. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given that their creator hails from Manna across the road, home of some of the most juicy, fall-off-the-bone tender ribs in the city. The Jim Bean basting sauce – of buffalo wing fame – makes a reappearance, and is everything my childhood self wants from a barbecue sauce.

For dessert, the Mississippi mud pie is the undisputed winner. It’s hard to really describe what’s going on here: a firm biscuit base is topped with a glorious layer of something which tastes like cookie dough, but it more mousse-y, and another layer of something vaguely caramel-like. Just order it.

Drinks
I plump for a pineapple mojito, which has lovely sweetness from the fresh pineapple blending nicely with the lime and mint. (There is rather a lot of ice, however.) You can also order a pitcher of one of the house cocktails for the table and settle in for the evening.

Stay in character with a jug of Southern Comfort, lemon juice, tequila and pineapple and orange juice; go British with a spot of Pimm’s; or stick with a classic pitcher of frozen margarita.

There’s also a decent range of wines, and our waiter is helpful in recommending one to suit our tastes. More importantly, there are also several rather sweet but good gourmet milkshakes, which include flavours like dulce de leche and roasted marshmallow

Ambience
The old Jackal and Hyde space has had a mini makeover. Oversized couch seats made from repurposed rowing boats join long tables made with steel girders on the deck. Most of the seating is outside; the deck, which boasts a few tables with a grandstand view of Table Mountain, will likely be hot property come summer.

For now, awnings shelter it a little, but the breeze comes through the gaps, so bring a warm jacket if you’re heading here at night. Lighting also needs some work: on the night we visit, the lighting on the deck was provided by a single candle on each table and the florescent streetlight, which created a slightly eerie, cold feeling.

Service
The staff feel slightly unsure of themselves, which is understandable, but there’s a comforting presence of management and there’s no reason to suggest they won’t find their feet in the next week or two.

And…
They have a pretty exciting-sounding breakfast menu and a Sunday brunch with bubbles.

The verdict
The restaurant is very new – and there are a few teething problems that need attention. The lighting arrangement needs work; the batter could be reexamined; and our cheesecake is not great. Give them a month or so to sort out the issues, or go in the daytime for the ribs, the mud pie, and a cocktail pitcher. (Pro-tip: all pitchers are half-price between 4pm and 5pm on weekdays.)

(August 2015)

  • Ambience
  • Service
  • Food

User reviews

  • Quite easily one of our favourite "wind-down" (yet classy) midweek spots on Kloof Street, Cape Town. Always amazed with the DELICIOUS dishes they have to offer. Even more, the innovative manner in which they present it. A true feast for the eyes, tastebuds and soul! You won't be disappointed!
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • We visit the Deckhouse on a regular basis as we simply can't deny ourselves great food at really good prices. They have a variety of exciting specials (posted to their facebook page in a quirky, entertaining way;) no matter what day of the week we pop in- and the local artists that perform (Sunday) never dissapoint!! I absolutely love the crab cakes and shrimp popcorn followed by either blue swimmer crab or the very tasty Jim Beam ribs or a sneaky piece of delicious king crab!! I would recommend the Deckhouse with the greatest pleasure!! Relaxed vibe with an amazing view of Table mountain!!
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Those shrimp popcorn are to die for...I would eat them again and again...more and more!!! followed by either an amazing crab...or an absolutely delicious cheese and bacon burger on a corn bun....yum yum...and to finish it all, the one and only..."THE amazing Mississippi mud pie".
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • The Deckhouse Crabshack and BBQ grill was all-in-all amazing. Our waiter was friendly, attentive and knowledgeable. The food was so delicious that we ended up eating way more than we should have. I would definitely recommend the crayfish and soft shell crab. Definitely do yourself a favour and visit The Deckhouse.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • A very nice place to get crabby. But the service unfortunately was very bad... Waiter had bad remarks about my table whilst walking away, probably thinking I have a hearing problem. The manager was very helpful and food tasty... Yet the service left me with a bad taste in the mouth...
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • What a shockingly bad experience.. The menu was confusing, the food mediocre and the service slow, erratic and clueless... They got the whole "Crab Shack" concept very wrong!! It's such a simple and delicious concept and it didn't even come close... There's nothing French about a crab shack so why serve your seafood on ice?? Everything else was very average! There were 7 people in our party and we tried a lot of dishes across the board... ALL were uneventful and lacked imagination, had a poor flavor profile and left us utterly disappointed.... I spent R3,5K and everyone in my party was left with the memory of a rather disappointing experience... I've had crab from a shack by the roadside in the States that puts this place to shame... I don't mind paying for good food but this was piss poor.. Take note Deckhouse and get it right! It's not Rocket Science..
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • I struggle to see how this restaurant has won any type of award. The soft shell crabs were nothing great. All you could taste was oil through the soggy batter. There was no crab, other than the soft shell. We wanted to try the crab legs and more, i mean the name implies more choice. The menus were confusing as each was different and neither the manager or waiter knew which we should order from. The calamari was good, but again the taste of the oil dominated the meal. We ended up ordering the ribs (at a seafood restaurant), which although covered in their "signature" basting were just an overly sweet mess. The best thing on the menu was the shrimp popcorn, but these too were, yep, the flavour of oil. It's a pity. I've been to a Bubba Shrimp in Florida, it was infinitely better, with crab of all shapes and types. All fresh and delicious. Hopefully somebody pulls a crab thumb out of their crab rear and starts to get it right. It's not a quick service restaurant either. the food took an hour, and by the time we had finished our meal, a waitress brought us our side of coleslaw, she was oblivious to the fact that our plates were done with.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Unless their cheesecake has changed since August, I am not sure what Katharine Jacobs (Critic) is talking about. I went there last month and it is by far the best cheesecake I have had - and I opt for cheesecake as my dessert option every time I eat out. The cheesecake looks dense and rich, like you would expect most cheesecakes to be but it is the contrary. It is light, not too sweet and still has the same taste and texture as any other cheesecake. You basically leave without feeling guilty or overly indulged. I would seriously just pop in at The Deckhouse for some cheesecake at tea time.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • What an awesome concept! We had a great time! We shared everything (well...most of us did...lol) from the kilo of prawns with Indonesian pepper sauce to the messy crab bucket, we loved everything! The ribs are apparently out of this world ( he did not want to share...) Service was very prompt and friendly. We'll definitely be back. It's different and fun! Do it!
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • On our way home from a weekend in Tulbagh we decided to stop in Kloof Street and see what The Deck House is all about! And let me tell you ... I was blown away! Everyone was super friendly and helpful! It has a sea-side atmosphere but it is definitely not cheesy (love the "boat" couches)! It was really difficult to decide on drinks never mind our food ... we went for a craft beer and classic frozen Margarita (so refreshing after the long drive!) The shrimp nachos are to die for - the portion and ratio of tortilla chips to toppings is just perfect! The Blue Swimmers crab bucket is a lot of work (and messy), but definitely worth the effort. The coffee is also really great! We had a great first time at The Deck House and will be back (a few more times) for sure!
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • I have eaten at the Deck House four times since its opening. On all occasions the food has been excellent, the pairing of BBQ meat and selected seafood is amazing. The value for money that the restaurant offers is incredible as their menu caters for all budgets and appetites. Furthermore, the management and ownership have taken the time to contact me and thank me for my repeated visits. (A very personal and classy touch) I would highly recommend the establishment and will continue to dine at the restaurant with my friends and family. Cameron
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • I had eaten at The Deckhouse a number of times before. All of my experiences there in the past had been very enjoyable until yesterday. In short, our waiter sucked. He did not care. He was a middle-aged man, wore glasses, relatively curly hair, etc... Anyways, our food came over an hour and twenty minutes late. He messed up almost half of our orders and when we asked him why our entrées looked unlike what we had ordered he responded, saying, "Sorry, there is nothing I can do. I cannot go back to the kitchen and change it. We're too backed up...Sorry." Not very convincing. On top of that, we had to ask for silverware two times. As for the food, the plating was subpar. The food was simply thrown on the plate without any real preparation. When we asked to see the manager our waiter told us he was out and if we wanted to talk to him we would have to wait more than a half an hour. Again, not very convincing. Not exactly what you'd expect when paying upwards of R200 a meal in Cape Town. I used to rave about The Deckhouse. However, my opinions of the establishment have changed substantially. Hopefully management there can get their act together...

    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • What a shocker. Avoid this restaurant at all costs. The food is terrible, the kitchen service glacial and all served up with the usual Cape Town slapgat attitude of "we're so special you should consider yourself lucky we let you in".... It took the kitchen an hour to deliver our main course which consisted of a plate containing 6 small ribs and some watery crab legs that had clearly recently been defrosted. Having waited an hour for this to finally arrive after 9pm one of our party (a table of 5) tried to order some more ribs as his crab was inedible - only be told at 9:45 - No - the kitchen is closed...... We were over charged on the bill for the drinks and the error reluctantly corrected. Couldn't get out of there fast enough. I predict this circus won't survive the summer season as not even the dumbest tourist is likely to go.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • With my family currently on holiday in New England without me, boasting about their crab-eating experiences, I've been feeling left out and dragged a friend to Deck House for an early Sunday crab lunch. While the brunch set menu with free-flowing bubbly was tempting, we opted for a softshell crab sandwich and one of the crab buckets. The average price listed in the article is a bit optimistic, as the crab bucket (and a lot of other seafood options) was priced over R300. There are one or two more reasonable options, like the sandwich which was R80 and definitely value for money. Both options were fresh and well-seasoned - and not the oily, flavourless, battered mess you'd expect from casual seafood spots. I'd happily go for either option again. We were provided with a shell cracker for the crabs, but a seafood fork would've helped a lot. The decor inside seems a bit over-the-top, especially compared to the very rustic deck. The service was fine, but I did get the impression the manager was trying a bit too hard (maybe because the place is newish). I imagine it would be a great spot for a lazy birthday lunch in the summer.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Disappointed after expectations set by these 5 star reviews. The ambience was good, and they've done a great job with the outside area. The service was uncertain, as mentioned in the review above, but hopefully that can improve. The food as underwhelming through. I know crab is generally expensive, but I expected a 'Crab Shack' to allow me to try a reasonable amount of crab at a reasonable price. The price estimate on this page seems to be a gross underestimate to me - you're going to spend at least R100 and easily approach R200 or well beyond for a decent amount of food, in particular if you want to try crab or similar. The food itself was okay, but but our crab + ribs arrived lukewarm at best, and there wasn't a lot of it. A friend's 'crab bucket' arrived looking packed and amazing, but was found to be stuffed with paper up to the half-way mark (so don't be fooled). All the sides I tried were packed with sugar (I was expecting vegetables). So all in all, good vibe, but in my opinion the prices have to really drop, or quality/quantity has to increase. Otherwise there are too many good places to eat in CPT to make it worthwhile.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • What a great addition to the Cape Town food scene! The deck outside is lit by candlelight with long wooden benches and tables giving a great beachy atmosphere (even though you are in the middle of Cape Town). Our waiter was relaxed and friendly and gave off a proper surfer dude vibe. The menu is extensive, and the layout a bit mish-mash, which can be a bit overwhelming at first, but with the help of your waiter you will find your way. We went as a big group and 5 of us decided to share 1kg baby back ribs (some of the best in Cape Town for sure), 450g popcorn shrimp (cooked perfectly with a nice crispy crumb), 1 snow crab leg (steamed with a delicious dipping butter...simple but perfectly executed), and a blue swimmer crab bucket (also delicious but a bit harder to eat). The food overall was excellent and great value for money. My one suggestion to these guys would be offering lemon and water dipping bowls for sticky, greasey hands, it will save you on refresher towels!! Looking forward to going back!
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Spot on! It seems that they have already improved quite a bit since eat out review, the deck is fully enclosed so it us quite comfortable. Plus the fireplace on the deck gives such a warm feel to the place. Foodwise I loved the soft shell crabs, crayfish tails are a bargain so I had to have it and the mussels in yellow thai sauce were devine. I am not a sweet fan so I gave it a miss but my partner loved the cinnamon bun boozy milkshake... seriously guys, go check it out...
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Had an absolutely delicious lunch! From the popcorn shrimps to the soft shell crab bucket and best ribs I've ever tasted - What a fantastic experience all round! Cannot wait to try the whole menu!!
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • What a fantastic place! They renovated is to a beach house feel with boats converted into sofas, the ambiance is amazing and the food is awesome. We ordered things to share between all of us, the wings, the mussels in thai curry, the soft shell crabs are to die for and oh my word! Those cheesy corn dogs! And then... then came the NY cheesecake... THE best! I definitely recommend it.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food

Specials

The Deckhouse is hosting its famed rib special again this winter. R195 buys you bottomless pork or beef ribs on Mondays. Also still available is its sippin' 'n' dippin' promotion (50% off appetisers and selected drinks) over the weekends from 5pm to 7pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

 

Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Beer served
  • Cocktails
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food

Write a review

Nearby Restaurants

Promoted restaurants

Eatout