It is about midday, I am in the middle of the Indian Ocean, a no-man’s-land, seated with five friends on a motorised canoe. We sailed for about 15 minutes from the shore to the famous Wasini Island, loved for its jumping dolphins.
Arriving at Charlie’s Claws, a nature-trail with shrubs and dried corals lead the way to the restaurant that serves seafood on wooden plates.
Unlike the cozy sofas in five-star hotels, this restaurant has four-legged sisal woven seats, some with no backrests. I sat but kept thinking I would sink into the sand-filled ‘floor.’ Most beach restaurants in Coast are gradually shifting to this kind of bare-luxury. No fancy chairs or carpeted floors.
On the table, there were four fish-shaped flat wooden “plates” and a thick knife-like blunt stick. There was also a glass filled with a bright yellow drink. Floating on it, three pieces of squared orange slices.
A hot yellow tulip was pinned in a wedge-cut green, orange fruit pegged at the lip of the glass. I could not keep my eyes off the cocktail! After walking through bushes to find this hidden lonely world, I came back and drank the cocktail in less than 15 seconds.
Then the chef brought a wooden bowl-filled with orange creatures. I thought they were table decorations. I was wrong! They were crabs, still in their shells.
“Have you eaten this before?” he asked. “No,” I answered.
Placing one crab at the centre of the wooden plate, he held the wooden knife. I had craned my neck, trying to figure out what a glass basin with floating flowers was doing on the next table when I heard a loud bang.
As I looked at the broken shells with crumbled pieces of meat, I was almost certain that crabmeat is unpleasant. I hesitantly took the first bite. I found myself taking a second bite with a bit of lemon squeeze and then third one with lemon and chutney sauce, then the fourth, fifth and sixth bite … I could not get enough of the crabmeat.
“Easy, this is just the starter, we are yet to eat the main meal,” one of my friends told me.
The waiter came with main meal; some mouth-watering white snapper fish, rice, chapati accompanied by coconut sauce served in a small clay pot and a fresh lemon. After the sumptuous meal, we left for a sightseeing tour to the rest of the island.