It's no longer Godzilla but it is a Monster.
It's Hotel Hotel's new, hip restaurant, which opens next week under the guidance of chef Sean McConnell, formerly of Mocan and Green Grout.
The restaurant was originally nicknamed Godzilla but has now been renamed Monster. Breakfasts, shared plates and a bar menu that runs until 1am are the order of the day at the restaurant.
Food is served in the front foyer and bar area, which features sofas tucked into nooks and crannies and window seats with cushions, alongside a patchwork of tables and chairs.
''We wanted this space to be welcoming to all, we wanted it to be non-exclusive so we've designed the menu to reflect that. You can come in and just have a coffee, you can have a glass of delicious blanc de blanc and half a dozen Moonlight Flat oysters or you can tuck into a serious meal,'' McConnell said.
While there's no formal space set aside for the restaurant, there is a private dining room, the Mosaic Room, which features a wall of hand-crafted ceramic tiles by the Dutch-born Australian artist Gerard Havekes. The tiles were unearthed in the artist's shed after his death and are a recurring motif in Hotel Hotel.
''The directors have left no stone unturned when they came to design this space. Everything you see in here an artist or a curator or a local designer and manufacturer had something to do with it,'' McConnell said.
The menu features shared plates of pulled lamb shoulder, slow-cooked pork cheek, and roasted brussels sprouts, while the bar dishes include a yabby jaffle and a plate of steamed buns or bao stuffed with pork neck that's been been cooked sous vide for 38 hours.
''We really wanted to break out of the traditional hotel model when it came to the food,'' he said.
''During the morning it's more a cafe environment with inspiration drawn from all round the world, from my travels, from my upbringing with a family of food lovers. The bar menu is all sorts of food you can graze all day long. We're open until 1am with the bar menu as well, with late-night suppers [for] if you come out of a film at 10.30pm at Palace Cinemas and you're a bit peckish.''
McConnell wants Canberra to embrace a supper culture, with late-night dining after movies or a show that is a staple of Asian countries or cities such as Melbourne. ''When I worked in kitchens, me and my kitchen team would hit restaurants in Melbourne's Chinatown every night of the week and I really miss being able to do that. So I really want to put in that sort of supper culture in the hotel lobby,'' he said.
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