Healthy Eating

We're championing fresh food that packs a flavour punch, from salads and vegetable-packed bowls to grains and light desserts.

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Aløft

There's nothing new about Nordic interiors - blond timbers, concrete surfaces, warm, mid-century charm without the twee - and thank heavens for that. It's a style that augments the beauty of everything around it, in this case, gorgeous Hobart harbour, which makes up one whole wall. What is new here, however, is the food - by veterans of Garagistes, which once dazzled diners down the road, Vue de Monde in Melbourne and Gordon Ramsay worldwide. There's a strong Asian bent, but with Tasmanian ingredients. In fact, the kitchen's love of the local verges on obsessive - coconut milk in an aromatic fish curry is replaced with Tasmanian-grown fig leaf simmered in cream to mimic the flavour. Other standouts include a gutsy red-braised lamb with gai lan and chewy cassia spaetzle, pigs' ears zingy with Sichuan pepper and a fresh, springy berry dessert. While the food is sourced locally, the generous wine list spans the planet. 

Secret Tuscany

A far cry from Tuscany’s familiar gently rolling hills, Monte Argentario’s appealing mix of mountain, ocean, island and lagoon makes it one of Italy’s hidden treasures, writes Emiko Davies.

Farro recipes

Farro can be used in almost any dish, from a robust salad to accompany hearty beer-glazed beef short ribs to a new take on risotto with mushrooms, leek and parmesan. Here are 14 ways with this versatile grain.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

Moon Park to open Paper Bird in Potts Point

No, it’s not a pop-up. The team behind Sydney’s Moon Park is back with an all-day east-Asian eatery.

Brae

Prepare to enter a picture of the countryside framed by note-perfect Australiana but painted in bold, elegant and unsentimental strokes. Over 10 or more courses, Dan Hunter celebrates his region with dishes that are formally daring (Crunchy prawn heads! Creamy oyster soft-serve! Sea urchin and chicory bread pudding!), yet rich in flavour and substance. The menu could benefit from an edit, but the plates are tightly composed - and what could you cut? Certainly not the limpid broth bathing fronds of abalone and calamari, nor the clever arrangement of lobster played off against charred waxy fingerlings under a swatch of milk skin. The adventure is significantly the richer for the cool gloss of the dining room, some of the most engaging service in the nation and wine pairings that roam with an easy-going confidence. Maturing and relaxing without surrendering a drop of its ambition, Brae is more compelling than ever.

Grilled apricot salad with jamon and Manchego

Here we've scorched apricots on the grill and served them with torn jamon, shaved Manchego and peppery rocket leaves. Think of it as a twist on the good old melon-prosciutto routine. The mixture would also be great served on charred sourdough.

Discovering Macedonia

Like its oft-disputed name, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia defies simple definition but its rich diversity extends from the dinner table to the welcoming locals, writes Richard Cooke.

On the house: The Beaufort in three drinks

Dave Kerr, owner, The Beaufort

Dave Kerr, owner, The Beaufort

In On the House, the tenders of our favourite bars talk us through their spiritual homes, glass by glass. Here's The Beaufort's Dave Kerr, starting things with a Martini.

The Beaufort is a cocktail bar built on an attempt to create an unpretentious environment to drink really good grown-up cocktails. That's par for the course across the board in hospitality these days, but four years ago it felt pretty progressive for a Melbourne venue. We still know how to have a bit more fun than most bars and we still knock out drinks as good as the best of them. 

To start: a Martini

Our opening bar manager Steve Crozier worked at Quo Vadis in London for a stint. Their Martini method was stolen from Dukes Bar in London in which stupidly cold gin meets a small amount of vermouth and a garnish. We've adapted it to include some filtered water because that just seems like more sensible drinking. The point being that we can still put out a Martini at minus-15 degrees. It's highly viscous, almost oily, and brings a new dimension to any gin you have it with. It's also fun because we get to see those LA bearded-biker types drink from frozen coupettes, gnaw olives from a dainty stick and seriously enjoy themselves. 

Next up: a Scorpion Punch

We've got a bit of a nautical vibe running through the place and tiki tends to dictate the flavour profiles, especially when it comes to a format of sharing drinks. The Scorpion is the king of the tiki big hitters; it's a combination of rums, Cognac and gin - essentially, spirits that shouldn't belong together but make one hell of a drink. Top it with a ridiculously large garnish and you're on your way to punters screaming "I want that" without any regard for what's actually inside it. Our bar manager, Paul Hammond, is the Colonel Sanders of rum blends, being equal parts genius and secretive in his blending. It's a fun drink, but super-technical behind the scenes. Which is pretty much what we're all about.

End on: shots

We're lucky to host chefs, bartenders and front-of-house staff on their days off and for knock-offs. There is no higher form of hospitality, mutual gratitude or sign of respect than the bar buying a shot for a hospo homie. Jameson has risen to the top of the pile as the shot of choice, but personally I'm a huge consumer of Tapatio Reposado Tequila. It's a relatively small distillery that still uses archaic, handcrafted techniques to punch out a stellar product. 

The Beaufort, 421 Rathdowne St, Carlton, Vic, (03) 9347 8171.

See more from On the House here.

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