A ROW over a crab lunch has turned a bit nippy, with trading standards officers looking into an alleged incident at a Swansea restaurant.
A diner at a branch of Frankie and Benny's, in Swansea, was disappointed to find that the crab bruschetta he ordered appeared to have the springy texture and sweet taste of fish sticks.
Steve Allen, from Swansea, claimed that instead of being a dish of shredded crab with fresh tomato, red onion and basil, his order had been padded out with surimi which are pulverised bits of cheaper fish, bound together with gums, sweeteners and salt to make a springy substitute. Mr Allen asked staff in the two Swansea branches of the popular chain restaurant what the dish was made of, and says he was reassured that it was 100 per cent crab. Not convinced, he complained to the company that owns Frankie & Benny's — the FTSE-listed The Restaurant Group. Now, according to The Guardian, Mr Allen has received a letter admitting that the dish contained a mix of real crab meat and crab sticks. "However, the main ingredient is shredded crab," said office manager Philip Gilbert.
He apologised and said Mr Allen's feedback would be taken on board. A dissatisfied Mr Allen then wrote to the group again, saying that failing to mention that the dish contained crab sticks was an offence under food regulations.
Two weeks later he received an email from one of the group's marketing team admitting crab was, in fact, not the main ingredient, and it made up only 45 per cent of the fish content of the meal, the rest being fake crab. But, said the email, the company felt its menu was within the law. But on Thursday last week, an apology acknowledging an oversight on the menu description arrived, saying: "This item has been withdrawn from all Frankie and Benny's restaurants and will not be included on the next edition of the menu."
Swansea Council trading standards confirmed that it had received a complaint about the dish and that it was investigating.