New diner opens – so here’s mud in your eye

Mud Crab, Ecclesall Rd
Mud Crab, Ecclesall Rd
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RESTAURANT boss Neil Lawrence reckons he has spent “30 years agonising over the perfect burger.”

He’s confident he’s now got it right.

Sheffield can check it out at the new Mud Crab bar and diner which opened last week on Ecclesall Road, after a hectic three day transformation of the Felicini Italian-style eaterie.

He and co-owner Ged Lynch are using the Sheffield branch of their restaurant chain as a testbed for a new brand.

Mud Crab sells burgers and an eclectic mix of New York and Australian food. There are no Antipodean crustaceans, rather pulled pork, kebabs, meatballs, schnitzel – and burgers.

“If ever I go anywhere I eat a burger and I’m perpetually disappointed,” says Lawrence, who says he has never had one to equal the one he ate at Ed Debevic’s in Chicago 30 years ago.

“It’s the hardest dish to get right, that’s why many people have never been served a great hamburger.”

The Mud Crab burger, with club sauce, grilled “roadside onions,” dill pickle and fries is a variant of the one served at the company’s Grinch bar in Manchester they had “perfected and agonised over for years.”

”We’ve tweaked it for Sheffield, making it moister from more contact with the grill. Each is constructed to our custom build. We agonise over the details,” he adds.

The company, based at Abbeydale Hall, Sheffield, has half a dozen outlets under the Felicini brand. The Sheffield 140-seater branch opened in 2006.

The new concept had been planned for two years. “We couldn’t find the right site, then decided where better than a site we already have,” says a spokesman.

“Mud Crab is born out of our love of fresh, simple, innovative global cuisine, Australian café culture and New York’s gutsy, no nonsense dining. Our top bananas have decades of restaurant experience, a decent chunk worked in Sydney and New York.”