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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.

Make mine a Grand Cru

Atelier Nespresso 2016 reunited two celebrated chefs in Japan and inspired them to create coffee-laced dishes for a cast of connoisseurs.

Yoshihiro Narisawa and Tetsuya Wakuda are old friends. The Japanese chefs have collaborated before on menus in places as far afield as Australia and Brazil, but they had never cooked together in their home country. Then, in November 2016, they decided to get together for a coffee - but not just any coffee.

Narisawa, whose eponymous Tokyo restaurant was rated number eight on the 2016 World's 50 Best Restaurants list, and Wakuda, the man behind Tetsuya's in Sydney and Waku Ghin in Singapore, are both big coffee lovers. "I think that coffee is a something that everyone on earth should share," says Narisawa.

It's fitting the two chefs should finally share a kitchen in Tokyo during Atelier Nespresso 2016, the first time this special event has come to Asia. Held in a different city around the world each year, Atelier Nespresso brings some of the planet's top chefs, bartenders, sommeliers, coffee connoisseurs and food media together to enjoy some exceptional culinary experiences and "auspicious coffee moments".

The two-day event featured Nespresso Grand Cru tastings, cocktail presentations and a series of coffee-themed meals culminating in a gala dinner presented by Narisawa and Wakuda at Tokyo's Happo-en Garden, a beautiful space surrounded by century-old bonsai trees, Edo-style teahouses and manicured gardens. Both chefs prepared dishes that incorporated Nespresso Grand Crus.

Although Japan is traditionally associated with tea, the country now has a strong coffee culture. "Coffee is such an integral part of everyone's life, but it can be so much more" said Wakuda. "When you pair coffee with something you never thought to pair with it before, it becomes even more of an experience."

For one dish, Wakuda paired roast scampi with braised orange-scented witlof and Nespresso-infused oil. "This sounds a bit weird," he said. "You might think 'very intense', but it's super-delicate with just a little of the oil on the surface."

Atelier Nespresso guest and fellow chef Shannon Bennett of Melbourne's Vue de Monde, a Nespresso ambassador, praised Wakuda's scampi dish. "Tetsuya's food is very simple," he said. "But the amount of work that goes into it is something I have a huge amount of respect for."

For the main course Narisawa served charcoal-grilled wagyu with a bitter ristretto-soy glaze and pickled vegetables cut into autumn leaves.

"We have the culture of enjoying bitter flavours in Japan," he said. "This is unusual compared to lots of other cuisines, and in that sense, there's a very close link between enjoying coffee and Japanese food."

Atelier Nespresso 2016 included a bonsai class, visits to Tokyo restaurants Tempura Kondo, Shirosaka and Narisawa and a tour of the Tsukiji Fish Market led by Wakuda (featured in the video above). The take-home message was clear: when it comes to both coffee and gastronomy, quality ingredients, good provenance and precise execution are key. 

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