You might, like The Boomtown Rats, not be too fond of Mondays, but (trust us) you’re gonna love the all-new, revamped The Monday Room.
The former post-quake party palace which endeared itself to the city after seeing Christchurch through some dark times has undergone a remarkable transformation. Fittingly, and reflecting the city’s own spirits, the mood has been lifted with a brighter, earthier makeover in line with its new, seasonally-driven food focus.
The once dark wood panelling has been white-washed and the science lab element switched out for a more chilled vibe courtesy of the crackle and pop of vinyl and a herb garden feature wall. Adding a retractable roof to the outdoor back area has extended the restaurant space, truer to the venue’s new focus, and has created a cosy and well-lit dining space. Thankfully, the slick cocktail aesthetic remains: pressed ceiling, exposed brick and encyclopaedia-lined bar (hey, if it ain’t broke!).
It’s all anchored by a stunning menu from local chef Shawn McGowan (Pegasus Bay Winery Restaurant, Sydney’s Nomad and Amisfield Bistro), on which everything from breads and sauces to pickles and preserves are made in-house. Owner Joel Christian (former Dux Dine Manager) says the menu has been carefully designed to ensure no one suffers food envy when the dishes arrive.
Expect low-food-mile fare that showcases Canterbury’s finest meats and produce (organic and locally-grown where possible) from the seasonally-focussed menus, with a brunch menu running from 8am – 3pm, dinner from 5:30pm – late, and a decadent all-day, all-night dessert menu.
Highlights include their chia-inspired take on the House Bircher, Ricotta Hotcakes topped with caramelised apple and cinnamon, almond praline, vanilla ice cream and maple syrup, Chorizo Baked Eggs, Seared Venison, fresh Market Fish cooked in spiced butter and served with parsnip puree, fennel and capers, and the exceptional Pinot Chocolate & Olive Mousse with salted caramel popcorn, plum, and ginger crumb.
Things are kept local, where possible, with a carefully curated Kiwi wine list (guest starring French bubbles, natch!) and local craft beers, while an impressive cocktail menu based around their signature line of Bloody Mondays (TMR’s take on the Bloody Mary) includes the totally boss Mary of the Rising Sun, kicked up a notch or two with the addition of sake and wasabi.
The sophistication continues with the similarly fierce Coffee Cake Sour cocktail and dedicated espresso martini (4 varieties!) and hot chocolate menus, with the latter offering delicious adults-only versions – when you can end the night on an Irished-up Peanut Butter Jelly hot chocolate, Monday will never seem as bad again.
The Monday Room
367 Moorhouse Avenue (Madras Street corner)
(03) 377 5262