For Riyadh center dwellers like me, we think that Exit 5 is quite far already but who knows? It will probably be the next “center” of Riyadh once the King Abdullah Financial District opens and operate fully. So lucky are those who live in that area now! I was once a resident of Mursalat until we decided to move to Sulaimania so that we’ll all be nearer to our workplaces. Back then, I enjoyed our morning route because King Fahd Road is relatively uncrowded and there was less traffic but looking at the state of Riyadh’s highways now, I’m glad we made the move. What I’m not glad about is the fact that most new restaurants are opening in the “exits”! Haha! Exit 5 and exit 8 are fast becoming gustatory hubs! Take for example, Shrimplus. It’s a restaurant with a concept like that of Bag O’ Shrimps and The Boiling Crab. Shrimplus is located in Anas Ibn Malik Street in Alsahafah. Uhmn where?! Is that even Riyadh still? Lol. Jk.
Seafood boil restaurants are big in the United States, and basically in countries where seafood are caught and cooked and served easily (from sea to the table in a snap?). Seafood boils are literally big bags of boiled seafood. Spices and flavors are put in the bag and sometimes, you need to shake it, shake it before you can devour it. And because it’s seafood with overflowing sauce, you need to use your hands to savor the food spread over a huge plastic in your table (ignore the fork and spoon for a while). Oh, and there should be a plastic apron too when eating to avoid splashes and splatters of sauce in your shirt. So eating a seafood boil is one messy but yummy affair. Well, anything “new” in the restaurant scene is a must-try in The Pink Tarha book so there goes Shrimplus!
Shrimplus is barely two months open but there’s quite a buzz going around it already. There are many fans of this restaurant’s Southern-style seafood boil. When I saw it in Instagram, I wanted to go pronto but since it’s quite far from where I live, I need to first make sure that they have a family section so that I can take my family with me (I need that to convince my father it’s worth the trip). Unfortunately, they don’t have a family section, bummer! But I sort of understood after my brothers and boyfriend went there and saw the place for themselves. It’s a nice, clean restaurant. Their menu is straightforward with just the right basic items. But the place is packed and they said it smells of “kimchi” (Korean pickled cabbage) haha! So yeah, ladies would probably mind the chaos and the smell. But garlic and butter, used extensively in one of their flavors, have a nice aroma when it comes to food so they might just be exaggerating haha. But I won’t know for sure because I didn’t go there.
They said that ordering in Shrimplus is a breeze. I meant ordering in the menu with its spartan choices and not ordering the line you need to endure. It’s not that long but for those who are weary of lines, then just be prepared. After all, this seafood shack only opens from 9:00PM to 12:00PM from Saturday to Wednesday and 9:00PM to 1:00AM on Thursday and Friday. Just a three hours to get your ‘catch’!
The menu has three choices for the mains: shrimps, crabs, and lobsters with the latter two being seasonal. That mostly leave shrimps ergo the name. You can order it “double catch” or twice the quantity. There are also four choices for “flavors” namely lemon, garlic, cajun and all of the above. Of course, the recommended sauce would be the latter which is all three together in one bag. The guys ordered shrimps in all of the above flavor. They also have sides of corn, fried shrimps, fried calamari, and
fried fries French fries. Pick from either Dynamite sauce or Tartar sauce for the fried stuff. Sodas and water complete the menu.
Even though we live in the other side of the city from Shrimplus, the guys managed to bring the buckets in our house still warm. The aroma, they said, lingered in the car and they couldn’t wait to get down and dirty! Lol. Anyway, we spread the plastic in our dining table and the bro even used the plastic apron for the ultimate experience haha. So here comes the “get messy” part:
The shrimps are regular-sized with the shells still in there. That makes eating this a mess… because we had to remove the shells with the sauce dripping all over the table and our fingers and arms! Haha! Imagine if these are crabs! (Original seafood boils are mostly crabs.) They’re harder to shell so the mess these shrimps are doing is nothing compared to crabs. Hehe.
The mixed flavor consists of the lemon, garlic, and Cajun sauces (with lots of butter). Each bag has around 10-12 pieces of shrimps for the single order with an additional one corn in the cob. The sauce is really spicy. It has enough heat that would make you want to have a glass of water or juice by your side. And it also builds up as you take bites of the shrimps. It tasted a bit like kimchi: spicy and sour with a kick of glorious melted butter and chopped garlic. The sauce is more liquid and the older bro wished it to be thicker. If you’re a fan of the butter garlic shrimps, then yeah this is like it only spicier. And if you’re Filipino, I’m sure you’ll be looking for a sweet taste in there but there’s none from the sauce. The shrimps has a tender sweetness to it though so you’ll like it too.
Order the lemon if you want a fresh, clean, sour flavor and the Cajun when you just it spicy! I’m not sure if the level of spiciness can be controlled. I plan to order half the garlic sauce and half Cajun when we order again.
As a side dish, they also ordered the Fried Calamari with fries. The squid rings have good breading and they’re flavorful on their own but there are two dips. The Dynamite Sauce is light orange; it’s spicy and sour. The tartar sauce is off white speckled with spices. It tasted quite bitter but that’s just maybe me. Either way, they’re both good for dipping the fried food.
The corn on the cob is also good. It’s sweet and you can dip it in the sauce for a spicy kick. However, since each bag comes with a corn already you can eat the one inside that has sopped up all the sauces. Imagine biting into the corn and the sauce dripping all over your chin! Haha! Get the water ready because when you’ve got the Cajun sauce in there, good luck! 😉
I haven’t tried seafood boils from restaurants so it’s a good experience for me. The shrimps are tasty! I also like the calamari very much. But with the distance, I will probably eat this only when I or someone I know is around the area to order for me. Eating the seafood is a challenge (and yes, you can probably make your own, better version at home) but it’s fun in way that you get to enjoy eating seafood boil with family and friends! It’s probably better with
beer non-alcoholic beverage in hand haha! This is the best food when you’re watching an exciting game (with sauces and shells flying around when you yell haha) or for a movie night (ditch the popcorn!). Or for generally a fun-filled come as you are, eat with your hands party.
Wait, here’s another good reason to go to Shrimplus! Beside it is what most people say as Riyadh’s best hamburger… Hamburgini! So what do you say to hitting two birds with one stone? YES.
Anas Ibn Malik Road, As Sahafah
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Operating Hours: Saturday to Wednesday (9:00PM to 12:ooMN) | Thursday and Friday (9:00PM to 1:00AM)
If you’re coming from King Fahd Road from the city center, pass Saudi German Hospital and turn right to Anas Ibn Malik Road.
If you’re coming from Exit 5 (Tala Mall), just go straight, pass Kingdom Hospital, and take a U-turn at the roundabout.