First opened under the guidance of Sean McConnell in 2014 (who’s since moved onto Rebel Rebel around the corner), Monster occupies the lobby of the Ovolo Nishi Hotel and continues to be an innovative dining destination, care of the Ovolo Group’s commitment to plant-based eating across its venues – including Sydney’s Alibi and Melbourne’s Lona Misa, helmed by vegan trailblazer Shannon Martinez of Smith & Daughters.

Here you’ll find a menu of snacks and share plates that showcase the possibilities of a completely veg-driven menu. For example, there’s a tartare – but not as you know it. Tomato pulp, a textural stand-in for minced animal protein, is served with a tomato crisp and intensely flavoured tomato broth poured from a cast-iron pot at the table. If you order the set menu, it might involve carrot crisps, manchego-cheese-and-corn croquettes and butternut squash katsu.

House cocktails share the same ethos, utilising fruit and veg in creative ways. There are also “twisted” classic drinks, backed up by a wine list of approachable Australian and international drops.

On a crisp Canberra day, Monster’s dark and moody fit-out, cosy furnishings and fireplaces make for a perfect wintry hangout. The lounge-y bar section is primed for a quick drink and small bite, but the dining room is where you want to pull up for the formal dining experience – and some premium vistas of Lake Burley Griffin. An eclectic range of furniture and striking recycled-timber features add to the uniqueness of the space.

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Updated: April 27th, 2022

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