Healthy Eating

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

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller for your chance to win a $20,000 Flight Centre gift card! Offer ends 24 May 2017.

Gourmet digital

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad or Android tablet.

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.

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.

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.

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.

O Tama Carey's fried eggs with seeni sambol, coconut and turmeric

"I first cooked a version of this dish - inspired by the excellent deep-fried egg dish at Billy Kwong - while working at a restaurant in Sri Lanka," says O Tama Carey. "The lattice-like eggs are doused in a creamy turmeric curry sauce and topped with seeni sambol, a sweet-spiced caramelised onion relish. This dish is equally perfect for an indulgent breakfast as it is served as part of a larger meal." The recipe for the seeni sambol makes more than you need, but to get the right balance of spices you need to make at least this much. It keeps refrigerated for up to three weeks; use as an onion relish. The curry sauce can be made a day or two ahead.

Kisume, Melbourne

Chris Lucas has flown in talent from all over the world, including Eleven Madison Park, for his bold new venture. Here’s what to expect from Kisume.

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.

Alternative wines from South Australia's Riverland

Ashley Ratcliff of Ricca Terra

Ashley Ratcliff of Ricca Terra

An unlikely wine region is proving to be fertile ground for progressive winemakers, writes Max Allen.

You don't expect to hear the words "terroir" and "the Riverland" in the same sentence. After all, the former is a French concept traditionally associated with single-vineyard, cooler climate "fine wines", and the latter is a warm South Australian region traditionally associated with producing vast quantities of cheap booze.

But when Adelaide Hills winemaker Brendan Carter talks about his 2015 River Sand Fiano - a deliciously complex white he made using grapes bought from the sun-baked heart of the Riverland - he throws the T-word around with passion. "Look at the landscape where these grapes are grown," he says. "The red sands, the Murray River, the gum trees - it's the most unique terroir we have. And if you grow the right grapes - like fiano, which doesn't need so much irrigation, and which retains its acidity in the heat - you can express the characteristics of that terroir."

Carter's not the only out-of-region winemaker fired up about the Riverland. The list of exciting small-scale producers from elsewhere buying grapes from here is impressive. Coonawarra-based Sue Bell makes pale, dry nero d'Avola rosé under her Bellwether label using Riverland fruit; Brad Wehr of Margaret River label Amato Vino travels across the Nullabor to source - among other things - fiano, nero and Montepulciano grapes; McLaren Vale's Brad Hickey ferments Riverland zibibbo (aka muscat) in amphorae for his Brash Higgins label; and Con-Greg Grigoriou's distinctive small-batch brand, Delinquente, is all Riverland fruit.

Most of the interest from these outside winemakers is in non-mainstream, alternative grape varieties. "Except we don't call them 'alternative'," says Riverland winemaker Mel Kargas. "We call them 'appropriate'. Sure, the bread-and-butter of the region is still chardonnay and shiraz and merlot because that's what the bulk market wants. But I like to think the future of the Riverland lies in less water-hungry and nutrient-hungry varieties like fiano, nero and Montepulciano."

It's a good point: while wine writers get excited by artisan-made grape-varieties-that-end-in-O, the big wineries still want large crops of more familiar varieties such as chardonnay and shiraz. In response, some of the region's growers are making trial batches of new clones of these varieties: at a recent tasting of some of these trial wines I was impressed by the depth of flavour in new clones of merlot from Italy and Argentina. Watch this space.

The man leading much of the revolution on the river is viticulturist Ashley Ratcliff.

In his day job, Ratcliff is production manager for Yalumba, but he also finds the energy and time to run his own Ricca Terra Farms in the Riverland with his wife, Holly, and vineyard manager Neil Bourton. Ricca Terra vineyard is planted predominantly with Italian grape varieties (the Ratcliffs supply the fruit for many of the wines mentioned above), but demand has been so strong he's started collaborating with other progressive local growers under the Ricca Terra banner, and is setting up another business to supply certified organic grapes.

"There's more call for alternative varieties than we can keep up with," says Ratcliff. "Once we've got going, we'll probably also be the largest independent organic grower in the state. I see these as the great opportunities for the region."

Again, he's not the only one. Thanks in part to the family-owned Angove wine company converting its 350-hectare Nanya vineyard in the Riverland to certified organics, the Riverland now produces around 7,000 tonnes of certified organic grapes annually - more than any other region in Australia. Much of this fruit ends up in large-volume brands such as Angove's and Yalumba's organic labels, but some is bottled by smaller out-of-region players such as Vanessa Altmann of the very cool Switch label and veteran organic winemaker David Bruer of Temple Bruer, and by local certified biodynamic producers Whistling Kite and 919 Wines.

Seven thousand tonnes of organic grapes sounds a lot - until you compare it to the 400,000 tonnes of conventionally grown grapes harvested here each vintage. There are still serious questions to be asked about the long-term profitability (most Riverland growers are paid woefully low prices for their grapes) and sustainability of an industry that completely relies on the Murray River for irrigation water.

But the more the word "Riverland" is proudly emblazoned on the label of high-quality wines - especially if they're made from lower-yielding, less-thirsty, organically grown varieties-that-end-in-O - the better we'll be able to answer those questions. And the more we'll be able to taste the region's unique terroir.

Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
Sydney's Neighbourhood cafe is giving away free coffee
11.05.2017
Where to have a drink this Good Friday
13.04.2017
Bar Rochford's Gun Club
06.04.2017
Dung: gin’s final frontier
31.03.2017
Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden’s very own gin
30.03.2017
The World's Best sommeliers are coming to Australia
28.03.2017
GT
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
Recipe collections

Looking for ways to make the most out of seasonal produce? Want to find a recipe perfect for a party? Or just after fresh ideas for dessert? Either way, our recipe collections have you covered.

See more
2017 Restaurant Guide

Our 2017 Restaurant Guide is online, covering over 400 restaurants Australia wide. Never wonder where to dine again.

See more

You might also like...

Jennifer Hawkins Sesion tequila

Tequila is the new black. At least it is for Jennifer Hawkin...

Top drops: March 2017

From a floral bottle of English bubble to a tangy gin perfec...

Australian sour beers

Craft brewing in Australia is hitting a sour note, and that’...

Original Sin's Grande Bellezza

A fresh, bright Italian-accented sundowner.

Short restaurant wine lists

Small is the order of the day in restaurants, with tight win...

Mitch Monaghan, Nespresso

We caught up with Nespresso Australia and New Zealand coffee...

Signature Drink: The Baxter Inn’s Charlestown

Grab the mink and the fedora – this Baxter cocktail means bu...

Game up your G&Ts with a Distiller’s Strength Gin

Is this the year of gin going where no botanicals have gone ...

Signature drinks

Thirty of our favourite drinks from Australia's best bars an...

Hot 100 2015 - Drinks

The world is getting hotter and we’re not talking about glob...

Mover, shaker

The best thing you can take to a party, according to cocktai...

How to improve your wine-tasting ability

Drinking wine is more than a matter of taste, writes Max All...

Best Australian red wines for drinking now

Australians are getting a taste for thirst-quenching reds ma...

Best Australian gins

The local gin craze is in full swing. Max Allen taste-tests ...

The art of the cocktail list

In our inaugural Cocktail List of the Year awards, GT cockta...

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

×