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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.

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.

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.

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.

2013 Eat-Drink-Design Awards winners

The 2013 Eat-Drink-Design Awards gongs were handed out last night in the performance space of Brunswick bar Howler in Melbourne's inner north (itself short-listed and receiving a highly commended nod). Recognising excellent design in the hospitality industry, the awards were decided by a five-person jury that included chef Christine Manfield and writer John Birmingham.

The award for Best Restaurant Design went to Nicholas Gurney for his tiny handcrafted restaurant Farmhouse in Sydney's Kings Cross. The jury thought Gurney's recycled and reclaimed restaurant "pares back the dining experience to its essentials".

The Best Bar Design category was a tie between two Melbourne bars, Simon Denton's Japanese jewel Hihou (pictured above) and the exuberant, concrete pipe-dominated extension to the Prahran Hotel, while Best Café Design went to the Six Degrees Architects-designed Top Paddock café in the inner Melbourne suburb of Richmond.

Ronnie Di Stasio's trophy cabinet may need further extending as Bar Di Stasio picked up the award for Best Identity Design, while Café Di Stasio, designed by architect Allan Powell in 1988, was inducted into the Eat-Drink-Design Hall of Fame, joining previous inductee Jimmy Watson's.

Best Retail Design went to Con Christopoulos's multi-faceted Spring Street Grocer, while the winner of the Best Temporary Design Award was Sydney's Kitchen By Mike On Wheels for its brilliant, barrow-like portable kitchen.

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