19 April 2016

Weekend cafe hot spot: Monster Kitchen & Bar

| Sophia Carlini
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I’ve been meaning to try Monster Kitchen and Bar since it opened in Hotel Hotel last year. I had heard mixed reviews and was keen to try it out for myself.

Working so close to Hotel Hotel, I really had no excuses left not to visit. So last week I made a date to check it out for breakfast.

Walking into Nishi, the building was a little quiet, which is perhaps understandable for 7:30am. As we walked up the stairs to the restaurant, I was pleasantly surprised that it was so warm – and busy. The restaurant was packed full of suits indulging in breakfast at early morning meetings.

We were seated and handed menus. Service was a little slower than I would have liked, but as I said, it was pretty busy that morning.

Nothing really jumped out at me on the menu, so I went with poached eggs on toast and ordered bacon, mushrooms and smoked tomato as sides. Eggs on toast are $10 and sides are $5 each, so all up it was a $25 dish – I guess that happens when you want to eat where the cool people eat.

Mike ordered a similar dish: poached eggs, avocado, whipped chevre, dukkah and toast ($16).

As we were sitting next to the pastry cabinet, I couldn’t help but order this amazing breakfast bar of mixed nuts, dried fruit and I think some kind of puffed oat. The drizzle was white chocolate. We shared the bar first and both agreed it was pretty yummy!


Our breakfast dishes followed soon afterwards. Mike was really impressed by his meal, minus the huge bunch of coriander (it’s a divisive ingredient!).


I was less excited about my meal, only because $25 was an expensive price tag for a dish that I’d consider to be a pretty standard meal of bacon and eggs.


After coffee, our bill came to $60. I am generally happy to pay that much for a really exceptional meal, but it seemed a lot for what we ordered.

So many people have told me that they absolutely love Monster for dinner, so maybe that is where I went wrong for a first visit. I know I sound a bit negative, but there were plenty of positives too – and Mike really liked his breakfast.

The only negative things we both agreed on was that the restaurant was a little too dark and since there was no music playing in the restaurant, we could hear was conversations happening around us.

I’m not going to say don’t check Monster Kitchen & Bar out, because like I said, I’ve heard many wonderful things. I will definitely be going back to give their dinner a go.


Monster is located at 25 Edinburgh Avenue, Canberra and is open 6:30am to 1:00am every single day.

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Not a cafe, so somewhat out of place in this series, perhaps?

Had an early dinner there on Saturday just gone. It’s not cheap, but the quality of the food was good. Excellent cocktails and wine list too.

Yeah breakfast is pretty uninspiring there, we walked out without ordering on the long weekend. That place lacks a gather point for people when its busy, something as simple a lectern, or better yet a strong maitre d’. The dinner menu is much more exciting.

I’m always looking for an inspiring breaky menu. Most menu’s feature only, what I call, “prepared” breakfast. Putting together the classics, done well its great. But if I’m going out for breakfast, I get excited when I see a menu that’s actually “cooking”.

Penny U is sort of winning at that.

Dame Canberra8:41 am 22 Jun 15

Hey Sophia, I’d definitely recommend trying Monster for dinner! I went for the first time the other week, and while it is expensive, I’d say it’s worth it (as long as you’re not a very fussy eater). The pork cheek – amazing! Desserts are great too.

I haven’t been for breakfast yet, but the house made crumpets with honey look like a winner.

Holden Caulfield8:34 pm 21 Jun 15

I’m yet to try Monster for breakfast, but for lunch, dinner or an after movie cocktail and snack, it’s one of my favourite places in Canberra.

Alexandra Craig11:18 pm 20 Jun 15

$5 for tomato is ridiculous, and slightly overpriced for bacon. I was at Penny University today and they have the fancy Pialligo bacon for $4 and I got a giant serving.

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