by Jack Lawrie
THE Colonial Motor Inn's new restaurant is on track to open in October, offering something new to dining options in Monto.
Georgie Dekker and Warren Drahm have been hard at work getting the Inn ready for its second purpose as a 60-seat dining venue.
With an exciting menu that puts a modern Australian twist on old favourites, the Colonial Restaurant staff plan to offer event nights, functions and catering for parties.
Ms Dekker and Mr Drahm arrived in Monto in June 2015 with their six-year-old daughter Tess after moving there from Cairns and fell in love with the town.
"It was the charm of a small country town mixed with a great community spirit and fantastic locals who made us feel welcome and at home,” Ms Dekker said.
That year, the business was put on the market and the family had to return to Cairns, but eventually they managed to purchase it for themselves and took over the Colonial on May 15 last year.
Since then, they've worked hard on refurbishing the 108-year-old building, with the restaurant as the culmination of their efforts.
"Presently we only open a bistro to in-house guests as we're both perfectionists and want everything to look right before we open our modern Australian restaurant to the locals,” Mr Drahm said.
"I must admit, Georgie's vision has paid off, the building looks amazing.
"The whole atmosphere's changed and it's nice to stand back and see what a great job we've done together.”
Ms Dekker has a background in hospitality and catering, while Mr Drahm has one in civil works and maintenance, which balances out the needs of the business.
Where Mr Drahm has done a lot of work on the general renovations, Ms Dekker has been hard at work on the restaurant menu.
There will be some crossover with the current bistro menu but the goal is to draw attention with an Aussie naming convention.
For example, 'Nanny Goats Gruff' is a delectable goat ragu served on rigatoni pasta with a herb gremolata and a side of garlic bread.
In other words, it's Ms Dekker's take on spaghetti bolognese.
"I love to have fun with my menus and give people a new way to taste old favourites,” she said.
"For example, I love a reef and beef, so I thought how can I make it better?
"My solution was the old '70s classic carpetbag steak (steak stuffed with oysters) using local Monto eye fillet mignon and prawns and scallops in a traditional brandy sauce.”
This particular dish will be called Billabong Bounty.
The Colonial Restaurant will be open in October, on a date not yet confirmed.
For inquiries, call the Inn on 41661377.