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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.

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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

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.

Notts Timber Design

When Bendigo-based Susannah and Sommerville Monotti bought their first house, they didn't have a table, so they made one. These days that same table is piled high with smaller offerings such as wooden spoons, chopping boards, bowls and salad servers, each item hand-cut in their garden shed from blackwood, salvaged Huon pine, blackheart sassafras and other Tasmanian timbers.

How do you choose your timber, Susannah?
When you go into a mill and you're surrounded by wood it's very special. Grains vary depending on the age of the tree or where it grew, so we always look for slabs with the most distinct markings.

Do you use a lot of salvaged wood?
Six years ago we started milling the old red gum that was on the ground at my dad's property at Euroa. After five years of air-drying, we've just been able to get our first pick: big red-gum boards with beautiful, natural edges.

What makes a good chopping board?
It's very personal. Each timber has a different feel and a different smell; people want to rub their hands along the top and feel what it's like to pick up. A moat or a groove to rest a steak on is a common request, too.

Notts Timber Design's kitchenware from $35 

Clockwise from left: blackheart sassafras wok spoon; red gum stirring spoon; Huon pine spatula; Tasmanian blackwood paddle board; teaspoons (left to right) in blackheart sassafras, red gum and Huon pine; mini spatulas (left to right) in Tasmanian blackwood, Huon pine and red gum; blackheart sassafras mini spatula; Tasmanian blackwood teaspoon; red gum salad bowl; blackheart sassafras salad servers.

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