GT reader dinner: Monster, Canberra

Author: Maggie Scardifield
Photography: Ben Dearnley

Secure your place for dinner at the mighty Monster in Canberra's hottest hotel. It's one you won't want to miss.

Sean McConnell's restaurant, in Canberra's benchmark Hotel Hotel, is more than living up to its name. "We called it Monster not quite knowing how appropriate that name would become," he says. "It's a big one."

It's big on character, big on ideas and even bigger on diners - McConnell and his crew cater to walk-ins as well as guests at the hotel, Gourmet Traveller Boutique Hotel of the Year, plus there's a solid room-service offering from the same kitchen.

McConnell and the Hotel Hotel team have steered clear of typical hotel food, serving vibrant, imaginative, tasty dishes. "We wanted to push the boundaries," he says. "It's the sort of menu you could sit and graze from for hours."

For this month's Fine Dining Lovers reader dinner, McConnell presents a menu off the pages of Gourmet Traveller, starting with South Coast oysters, followed by a bright plate of kingfish crudo with burnt ruby grapefruit and lightly pickled fennel, and the Monster jaffle, rich with poached yabby meat. A Turkish-inspired sticky braised lamb shoulder is the main event, while a strawberry, rhubarb and pink peppercorn crumble ends things on a spicy-sweet high.

"A dish needs to have various elements of texture, temperature and colour, but it also has to be delicious," says McConnell. Delicious indeed. See you there.

Join us for dinner at 6.30pm on Monday 24 August at Monster, NewActon Nishi, 25 Edinburgh Ave, Canberra, ACT. The cost of $120 per person includes eight courses, wines by the glass, S.Pellegrino water and a $10 donation to the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation. To book, call (02) 6287 6287. For more on the OCRF, call 1300 OVARIAN or visit

* A selection of South Coast oysters
* Kingfish crudo, burnt ruby grapefruit, pickled fennel, anchovy
2015 Eden Road Canberra Riesling

* Yabby jaffle, horseradish, crème fraîche
* Mulloway, broad beans, peas, almond cream, mojama
2013 Collector Lamp Lit Marsanne

* Roast beetroot, shankleesh, almond, onion and dill
* Celeriac, Jerusalem artichokes, puffed rice, parmesan
* Slow-roasted lamb shoulder, pistachio, pomegranate, yoghurt, vine leaves, brik
2013 Clonakilla O'Riada Shiraz

* Rhubarb, strawberry and pink peppercorn crumble with chamomile ice-cream
2013 Lerida Estate Botrytis Pinot Gris


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