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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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

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.

How to host your best-ever cocktail party

Host your best-ever cocktail party with dishes and tips by Gourmet Traveller and Winning Appliances. Martini anyone?

When it comes to entertaining, the kitchen is the new dining room and a relaxed style is the new black. 

Guests enjoy nothing more than pulling up a stool at the island bench to chat while you cook, making this the ideal way to serve a series of shared plates and drinks.

For a Japanese-style cocktail party, for instance, kick things off with a large platter of super-fresh sashimi, mixing it up with salmon and tuna, say, served with julienned daikon (unless you have the knife skills of a Japanese chef, use a Japanese mandolin for this, and place the daikon briefly in iced water to crisp it up). 

Of course, it's no party without drinks. Sake is always a sympathetic partner to seafood, and you can glam it up for cocktail hour in a Saketini - a Martini with sake in place of the vermouth. Just add a green olive for garnish, or a ribbon of cucumber for a refreshing twist. 

Next serve a round of chicken tsukune, while you eat flash-grill teriyaki-glazed bonito, both on easy-to-eat sticks. Beer works well with both of these or try something a little richer: mix umeshu, a sake-based ume liqueur, with sweet vermouth and lemon juice. 

With a main course of Japanese prawns and rice with hot spring eggs, keep things simple yet elegant with wine, perhaps an aromatic skin-fermented semillon. 

For extra fun, set up a help-yourself bar at the end of the bench for guests to make their own drinks. Kampai!

 

This article was brought to you by Winning Appliances

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