Hotel Hotel, 25 Edinburgh Avenue, Canberra

Modern Australian food including locally sourced ingredients

Monster may not seem very ‘Canberra’ to those who remember the capital as home to an abundance of academics, lawyers, public servants, and Questacon. How mistaken those people are today. As well as a blossoming population of trendy youngsters, Canberra is now producing a vibrant and very exciting culinary scene, of which Monster is certainly no exception.

As the eatery of the ever-trendy Hotel Hotel, Monster is home to not only an amazing menu but also a seriously funky fit out. Tucked into the den-like lobby, this hotel lounge disguised as a restaurant is caked in mismatched cushions and leather chairs, misshapen tables with shiny brass furnishings and modern concrete and wooden walls. To top it off, the location is on the banks of Lake Burley Griffin, central to everything in the city.

Manning the kitchen is Head Chef, Dan Flatt, alongside New Acton Group Head Chef, Sean McConnell. Name sound familiar? Sean created the groovy little kitchen at New Acton Cafe Mocan & Green Grout, and also happens to be the brother of highly esteemed Melbourne chef and restaurateur, Andrew McConnell, of Supernormal, Cumulus and Cutler & Co. fame.

The Monster menu is relaxed, and ingredients are largely sourced from local producers.

Ranging from decadent breakfasts to snack-style nibbles and cocktails, Monster has something for everyone and any occasion. The breakfast menu features mouth-watering bites such as Poached Eggs with avocado, whipped chèvre and dukkah, or Spelt and Maple Granola paired with roasted rhubarb, berries, and whipped ricotta. Sweet or savoury, each meal is perfectly washed down with a Canberra roasted coffee, or even a Bloody Mary.

Lunch and dinner can be chosen from either the bar menu or Monster’s selection of shared plates. Those who choose to eat from the bar will find themselves tempted by small bites such as Hiramasa Kingfish with lardo, kohlrabi and pink peppercorn, or the Wagyu Tongue Sandwich served with mustard and sauce gribiche. The shared plates are slightly more substantial and include flavour combinations like Eggplant with Smoked Goat’s Curd, Katsuobushi and Sesame, or Pulled Lamb Shoulder with pistachio, yoghurt, vine leaf, pomegranate and brik. Finish the meal off on a high with your choice of decadent desserts, the Soft Chocolate paired with mandarin, almond and rosemary seems to have mouths watering at the mere mention of its name.

To help wash down an evening of tasty delights, Monster’s manager, Matt Gray, has collated an impressive drinks list that features an array of both inventive and classic cocktails, as well as an extensive wine list. Matt’s list celebrates a range of Canberra district wines as well as a collection of drops from both old and new world wineries around the world.

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