Meet the man behind Sri Lanka’s famous restaurant

Named as one of the top 50 restaurants in Asia, Ministry of Crab is the brainchild of chef Dharsan Munidasa. 

The famed Sri Lankan restaurant currently has outlets in Colombo, Shanghai, Mumbai, Manila and a new branch opening soon in the Maldives.

Luckily for us, Ministry of Crab is stopping off for three days at Hoi An in Shangri-La Hotel Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi.

The pop-up event, running from 25th to 27th April, will dish out some of the restaurant’s signature dishes, giving capital foodies a chance to experience Ministry of Crab’s distinct flavours.

We speak with Chef Dharsan to get his insight about the restaurant’s success and the possibility of opening a branch in the capital.

Sri Lankan ministry of crab pop up in abu dhabi

What makes Ministry of Crab a hit with the public?

The Sri Lankan crab has been a celebrated ingredient and a sought-after dish in Singapore for over three decades. It’s a no brainer that we took back its ownership to Sri Lanka and that’s why I think Ministry of Crab is successful. We are also located in a beautiful historical building, which is over 400 years old.

How did you come up with the name?

The name came up while brainstorming restaurant names with a friend. I felt that for the Sri Lankan crab to have a home in its home country it needed a powerful, institution-like name, hence Ministry of Crab.

How do you keep update to date with the latest trends happening in the industry?

This question is one that is asked frequently, but I do not follow trends. Perhaps having a single ingredient restaurant is a trend that we set.

What valuable lessons have you learned in the food business?

Never stop trying new things, never stop eating, never stop learning and pay attention to ingredients, ingredients are key.

What makes a restaurant successful?

There are so many factors that go into a successful restaurant but the common denominator is the people. Both the front- and back-of-house teams contribute greatly to our success. The people involved in supplying our daily catch are also extremely important to us.

What prompted you to bring Ministry of Crab to Abu Dhabi, even for just a few days?

We’ve always been looking for an opportunity to do a pop-up in the Middle East to test the supply chains and work with the teams of a hotel. We are grateful that Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat al Beri, Abu Dhabi invited us.

Any chance of opening Ministry of Crab permanently here in Abu Dhabi?

Most definitely, yes!

Ministry of Crab is open from 25th to 27th April. AED 448 for four-course dinner set menu, AED 598 with house beverage. 6.30pm-11pm. To book, contact: 02 509 8555 or

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