Crazy Bear has some crazy good Asian food, and a whole lotta other crazy too.
Let’s start with the cocktails. We arrived a good hour before our pre-theatre dinner booking, so what else could we do other than sample the cocktails? The only real issue was choosing one. It was a seriously impressive menu and after getting a little con-fuzzed about what to go with (I’m still thinking about the Lychee Mojito), I chose the Crazy Berry. Tanqueray gin, raspberries, chillies, framboise and lime juice. It was weird, sweet, spicy, tart, and well, delicious. I couldn’t drink more than one but with a cocktail menu that size, why would I?
Mid-way through my cocktail, I needed to make use of the “facilities”. When the waitress quite literally delivered me to them, I was unsure I was even in the loo! Not sure whether to panic because I wasn’t actually sure how to get out, or dissolve into a six year old gawp at all the prettiness, they were pretty cool. Without giving too much away, the loos are how I imagine the “escape the room” experience to be.
I found my way back, moved to the restaurant and happily, the food. I have to tell the truth, we were not convinced the “12 course menu” promised by Book-a-Table would be more than a morsel a course. How wrong exactly do you think I could be? From the moment the pile of edamame arrived, I knew it wouldn’t be a morsel-kinda meal. Instead a belly-busting chinese. Now, I love a good chinese. The greasy, non-descript, not-always-that-authentic asian food that is a great English Chinese takeaway. All the stuff you know is bad for you but you love and crave occasionally. Well to surmise, Crazy Bear is all the best (authentic) bits of that, elevated to another level of scrumptiousness. Plus some.
Sashimi makes some people cringe, it is raw fish after all, but I love it. So thinly sliced it literally melted, with a hint of spice but with a deliciously smooth finish, it was impressive. There’s absolutely none of the slippery, fishy sensation many people imagine. Just delicious, fresh fish with crunch from the garlic, zing from chilli and smoothness from the ponzu sauce.
When you read the menu, the anticipated star of the show is the lobster pad thai. Probably closely followed by the duck, or possibly the pork. But genuinely, they all pale in comparison to the eggplant in black bean. Delicious chargrilled – so it was meaty and substantial – chunks of aubergine, in a sauce of chilli and black beans. Tiny beans that had a slight aniseed taste fading to a very light spice, the whole dish was a thing of beauty. And by far my absolute favourite.
Wow. On it’s own the cheesecake would have been far too sweet but the kaffir lime jelly on top, not only adds a new texture but also cuts through the sweetness. So the layers of flavour are salty biscuit, sweet cheesecake and fresh lime. Seriously, wow.
The only thing I really wasn’t sure about was the art installation at the entrance. I get it but I didn’t like it. Go decide for yourself. If you like asian food, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.