Well this is a first! I’m writing a blog post the night of going to the restaurant. This is probably partly due to eating at three eateries in 3.5 hours like my heading suggests and I’m still digesting and also partly because of my excitement of serendipitously finding a new food venue without looking for one.
We start the night off at Monster. I had been here before when it was still just serving salads and simple sandwiches but now they have officially opened the bar and restaurant under the new name with awesome opening hours that sees the kitchen serving food til 1am, so now you have an option of a meal/snack/drink after a late check in at Hotel Hotel or after a movie at Palace Electric. Upon reading the menu, the aspect of the dishes did remind me of Mocan and Green Grout but that’s because the chef Sean McConnell used to work there.
Quick picture of the busy kitchen.
I love that big fire-place!Unique light fittings, a big fireplace, colourful tables and the cement urban jungle surroundings give lots of different atmospheres at Monster depending on whether you sit at the bar, the middle of the restaurant, cosied up near the fire-place or in the casual dimly lit perimeter.Funky Goodspeed bikes for Hotel hotel guests to borrow free of charge.The salt bowl reminded me of broken pottery, the water glasses looked like glass bottles with the top cut off and the water jugs were unusual too. All this adds to the funky setting which is Monster.Organic cola ($5.00). Hipster places don’t sell mass produced big corporation soft drinks but organic cola. It tasted like gummy cola lollies.Lemon and lime bitters (back) and a Rose and orange drink (front) $5.00 each. The rose and orange drink had a strong rosewater aftertaste. A bit too overwhelming for me.Bar menu~ 12pm to 1am
Yabby jaffle, creme fraiche, horseradish ($16.00). The humble jaffle is transformed into a culinary delight with lemony creamy flavours in the filling. It probably could have done with a smidgen of salt somewhere to help bring out the flavours of the yabby.A close up of that yummy filling.38 hour pork neck bao, cucumber kimchi ($18.00 for 2). The bun isn’t as soft and smooth as Ippudo but it is a good attempt with the bun having a slight sweet taste with a fluffy chewy texture. The pork next was extremely tender with a perfect crispy exterior. I’m not a fan of kimchi but I did like their cucumber kimchi which provided a bit of sauce that gave it a slight hint of chilli. I would order this again, even with the steep price tag.Not as white, soft and smooth as other pork buns that I’ve eaten.It fits nicely in the hand.A close up of the tender pork neck filling.Hand cut chips, house made ketchup ($10.00). I was impressed that it was just like the description had said, hand cut with the skin left on for a more homemade feel. I like my chips on the crunchier side so for me these chips were too potato-y with their thick cut nature. My friend and I weren’t particularly fond of the homemade ketchup, it was like a really strong pasta sauce but the boys really enjoyed it.Shared plates~ 12pm to 10pm
Eggplant, smoked goat’s curd, katsuobushi and sesame ($18.00). My mouth was confused by this dish. The Asian elements of nori, katsuobushi and the Thai herb didn’t seem to fit in with the goat’s curd. I’m not usually a fan of goat dairy products but this was mild enough to eat on its own without the strong aftertaste.
Wagyu flank, baby leek, soubise, ash ($29.00). All the elements of this dish took a back seat to the soubise. The sauce had an almost chunky puree texture and tasted like caramelised eshallots with a hint of garlic. The Wagyu itself was a bit disappointing having no real taste but was slightly better when dipped into the jus that had pooled to the side of the plate.Slow cooked pork cheek, caramelized onion, kale and kohlrabi ($26 .00). I preferred the pork over the beef because of the amount of flavour that they pork had. My piece of pork was 50% fat, 35% crispy skin and 15% meat. It was very flavoursome but I had to cut some of the fat off because it was just too much (that never happens!). The crispy kale, what looked like crackle and kohlrabi all contrasted against the soft caramelised onion and tender pork.
The funky sleeve that the bill comes in.It ended up being $150.00 for four people without dessert. Nothing particularly caught our eye on the dessert menu and we had plans of trying out Dessert Castle anyway so we paid the bill and went to our next destination down the road.
The waiters were friendly and always wanted to know how our meal was going, while the food came out consistently allowing time to eat each share plate. No particular dish was ‘OMG outstanding’ but I would be happy enough to come back here to take advantage of their location and convenient opening hours.
Venue: Monster kitchen and bar
Address: Nishi building, 25 Edinburgh Ave Canberra, ACT 2601
Phone: (02) 6287 6287