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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.

On the Pass: Danielle Rensonnet

Bellota chef Danielle Rensonnet

Bellota chef Danielle Rensonnet

Bellota chef Danielle Rensonnet talks us through the current menu at the restaurant and her favourite summer ingredients.

What are the eats at Bellota all about, Danielle?

It's pretty classic bistro-style food. The restaurant is attached to the Prince Wine Store, one of the biggest importers of European and Californian fine wines in Australia, so it's definitely about food-and-wine matching. We serve a fairly simple seasonal produce-driven menu, and we have a charcuterie cabinet stocked with artisanal salumi and cheese.

Related: Bellota review

Is there a standout dish on the menu at the moment?

The grilled octopus and longaniza oscura, made by La Boqueria, a Sydney artisanal Spanish charcutería. The longaniza is a sausage made with pork and squid ink; it's black and sweet and delicious. We serve it thinly sliced with kipfler potatoes, pickled Spanish chillies called guindillas, and a little pounded fennel and parsley dressing. It's one of my davourite things on the menu and everyone loves it.

Do you have a favourite summer ingredient?

Summer is definitely about seafood. We have things like marron, scampi, yabbies - they're always amazing - and Batemans Bay oysters. I also love cooking whole fish. At the moment there are some pretty amazing sea bream and flounder around that are perfect for this.

You spent a few years working in Spain - how has this influenced your cooking?

I love Bellota because it reminds me of little Spanish bars. I remember going to the Boquería market in Barcelona and being amazed by the seafood and the jamóns hanging everywhere. In Spain they focus on really simple, classic food where the produce speaks for itself, and that's what we try to do at Bellota.

What's your go-to dish for a barbecue?

A really great fresh chorizo and a bottle of rosé from Ochota Barrels.

Bellota, 181 Bank St, South Melbourne, Vic,  (03) 9078 8381, bellota.com.au

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