Yabby Jaffle

Yabby Jaffles, Monster Kitchen & Bar, Hotel Hotel, Canberra

Words:  Jane Speechley    Photos: Monica Tindall

Set amongst the incredible architecture of Hotel Hotel, it would be easy for Monster Kitchen and Bar to be overwhelmed by its surroundings. Instead, the venue is carving out a solid reputation for hearty and sophisticated food, while attracting a lot of attention for one simple little dish in particular.

Monster Kitchen and Bar, Canberra
Hotel Hotel, Canberra

Before we explain Monster’s new signature dish, you have to understand an Australian icon known as the ‘jaffle’. It’s made by placing your desired filling – usually cooked meat and vegetables – between two slices of bread, then toasting the sandwich using a special press (called a jaffle iron) that seals the edges together, ensuring a crispy toasted outside and a pocket of warmed filling inside.

Of course, the food industry loves a new twist on an old favourite, so it should come as no surprise that the humble jaffle (or variations on the theme) has recently started appearing on some very upmarket restaurant menus. In Canberra, Monster is leading the charge.

Monster Kitchen and Bar, Canberra
A Peek into the Kitchen

Generally favoured as a low cost and often late night snack, that is exactly how the now-famous Yabby Jaffle (AUD$20) came to appear on the Monster menu. Chef Sean McConnell explains how, at a previous restaurant, he served cooked yabby meat with horseradish and crème fraiche on brioche toast as a late-night snack for diners and staff. It was so well received, that the recipe was further developed and added to the permanent menu.

Monster Kitchen and Bar, Canberra
Chef Sean McConnell

The first secret, according to Sean, is to use a basic, fluffy white sandwich bread – it fits best in the jaffle iron, and toasts well.

While it looks deceptively simple, the appeal of this dish really lies in the clever combination of tastes and textures. Sean competes with some of Australia’s leading chefs to secure his share of fresh Queensland red claw yabbies, which are poached to perfection in a court-boullion of white wine vegetables, herbs and spices. These are chopped and mixed with a locally-produced crème fraiche and fresh horseradish, as well as shallots, chives, lemon juice and gruyere cheese, and finally, seasoned with sea salt.

Monster Kitchen and Bar, Canberra
Yabby Jaffle

It’s a combination that’s clearly working, with between 70 and 100 jaffles served from the kitchen every Saturday night. We’re delighted to be able to enjoy it with the Gallagher Sparkling Duet (AUD$14), a real local favourite. Pale lemon in colour and with fresh honeysuckle and citrus fragrances and refreshing fruit flavours on the palate, it’s the perfect match for the crisp texture and mild seafood favour of the jaffles.

 Yabby Jaffle
Sparkling Duet, Gallagher

Reasons to visit: the Yabby Jaffle was recently named by Good Food as one of the 17 Australian Dishes You Must Try Before You Die.

Monster Kitchen and Bar, Hotel Hotel
25 Edinburgh Avenue, New Acton
Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
+61 2 6287 6287

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  1. I wonder what a jaffle iron looks like – I guess it is nothing like a sandwich maker? I love these toasts with filling even if it is just French toast with mince inside. Yabby! Yummmm!!!!

    • Monica Tindall

      Similar, but it squeezes in the edges so you can put things that are a bit more moist inside and it keeps them sealed in. 🙂

  2. What? You mean the crayfish?!
    Aussie kids like yabbying!
    I collect OZ stamps 😉
    Have a look, “1987 Aussie Kids stamps” online
    Did you have a fun childhood? 😉

    • Monica Tindall

      That’s right! Yabbies! Yes, I had a lot of freedom as a child – yabbying, tree climbing, mountaineering, making dams in the creek – and I even survived. 😉

  3. Yummy – I must get out my Jaffle cooker.
    Nothing as elaborate as shown here in CBR which
    certainly is fast becoming a Mecca for the Fastidious !
    I just have ordinary tinned spaghetti, or sweet corn in my
    jaffle, but tomatoes and cheese is very appetising.
    El Colin Cordobes

    • Monica Tindall

      Creamed corn! That was my love as a child. Dad tried to convince me how good tinned spaghetti was in a Jaffle but he was unsuccessful. 😉

  4. jaffles! i’d like to see more of them in kl … maybe even an entire cafe dedicated to jaffles 🙂

  5. Ah, didn’t know these were called jaffles. Obviously this yabby jaffle tastes a lot better than the ones I made at home. I have a jaffle iron (which I used to call a sandwich toaster). I used it twice to make jaffles (once with canned sardines and another time with tuna as filling) and never used it again. Too much work to clean up the jaffle iron later….haha….now it’s just gathering dust in a corner of my pantry! 😀

  6. This is something new to me. Interesting concept.

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