The inception of Ministry of Crab is attributed to an episode of Chef Dharshan Munidasa’s TV show “Culinary Journeys with Dharshan”, which featured the Sri Lankan Mud Crab, showcasing how it was sourced in Sri Lanka and exported to Singapore to be made into the famous Singapore Chilli Crab. It was when this episode aired that the initial idea of creating a crab restaurant was born, as a culinary homecoming for this majestic crustacean, which had long been more renowned overseas than in Sri Lanka. When brainstorming names for a Crab restaurant in its country of origin, Dharshan felt it was necessary to have a powerful institution-like name; and so, the title, “Ministry of Crab '' was established.

The next step was to find a location fit to house the restaurant and the search began for a “Ministerial” space. It was serendipity that the historic Dutch Hospital building became available as a result of a new refurbishment project of colonial buildings by the Urban Development Authority, as part of the post-war development.

Cricketing legends Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakkara who were close friends with Dharshan, stepped into partner with him, when he put forth the idea for a restaurant dedicated to seafood, giving flight to their own gastronomic ideals. Their dedication towards bringing the restaurant to life by using it as a platform to pay homage to local produce earned all of them the monikers, “Ministers of Crab ''.

Everything came together in December 2011 as Ministry of Crab opened its doors in Sri Lanka for the first time!

In 2018 Ministry of Crab began its international culinary journey by opening its first overseas restaurant at People’s Park, Shanghai, China.


Finding a location fitting the uniqueness of Ministry of Crab in Shanghai, as its first international location, was a challenge that led to housing the restaurant on the ground floor of the Barbarossa Restaurant, Bar & Lounge, a 3-floor Arabian style building with distinctive, exotic decoration located in the People’s Park, the heart of Shanghai city. Inspired by Moroccan architecture, blending exotic finishing touches from surrounding Mediterranean regions, the Barbarossa building, and its stylish interior create a premium and relaxing dining experience for guests.

Barbarossa has the distinction of being situated over a large lotus pond, offering guests with remarkable views as they dine.