Healthy Eating

We're championing fresh food that packs a flavour punch, from salads and vegetable-packed bowls to grains and light desserts.

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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.

The Future Laboratory’s predictions on the future of food

Is delivery-only dining in our future?

Is delivery-only dining in our future?

From pods to delivery-only dining, here are the things we learnt at the Future Laboratory's Food and Drink Futures Forum.

The future has been podified. That's just one of the take-home messages from the Food and Drink Futures Forum held in Melbourne last week. Giving its hospitality-industry clients the jump on global trends, the London-based Future Laboratory has cast its eye across all four corners to predict what we'll be eating, drinking and Instagramming in three to five years' time. Here's what the future has in store.

*The pod revolution (the Future Laboratory calls it "pod-novation") means the capsule delivery system pioneered by Nespresso will be hacked by more and more companies creating pods filled not just with coffee but with liqueurs, syrups, natural bitters and juices.

*Clean eating is the latest dietary trend set for a backlash, thanks in part to years of contradictory recommendations from health authorities about what we should (and shouldn't) be eating. "People are tired of being told what to do by experts," says Future Laboratory co-founder Martin Raymond. "One day it's no fat, then gluten, then sugar... In this environment, consumers are losing faith in brands and realising that convenience trumps all." A case in point: around 24 per cent of US consumers ignore nutritional labels, up from 15 per cent a decade ago.

*More information, please. Diners of the future will be demanding more transparency about the food they're eating - to the point that nutritional information will be written on menus. Consider it a side-effect of the now-standard listing of ingredient provenance - which, incidentally, is here to stay. As Future Laboratory co-founder Chris Sanderson says, "As someone who eats out three times a week it would be so helpful." Increasingly, health-conscious diners will also want to see more portion control, which sounds like a win-win for restaurateurs.

*Delivery-only dining. Established restaurateurs will be tapping into the growing home-delivery market by bypassing the traditional bricks-and-mortar operations (an early adopter: David Chang's Ando in New York City). "If you know the brand and trust the brand, that's really what they're delivering," says Sanderson. Also expect to see more emphasis on healthy versions of traditional takeaways as millennials struggle to balance their desire for healthier food with busy working lives.

*Low-alcohol booze is the new Negroni. Consumers' drinking habits are evolving to appreciate tipples with a lower alcohol content that offer a buzz without the same risk of a hangover. Bold Shim Gin, soon to be released by Four Pillars, the Healesville-based Future Laboratory darlings, has a regular alcohol content of about 42 per cent but is designed to be poured in only 15ml measures with 100ml soda, creating a sparkling drink with an alcohol content of about seven per cent. Good old hardcore whisky, on the other hand, will continue to boom.

*Healthy hedonism is on the rise. Organic alcohol, juices, teas and sodas are keeping company with, and collectively taking the guilt out of, the cocktail scene.

*Coffee is riding the wave created, in part, by a downturn in alcohol - revenue in the Australian café market is expected to increase by 6.9 per cent in 2016-17 to a staggering $5.5 billion. The ready-to-drink format is running interference, however: cold brew (otherwise known as - shock, horror - coffee in a can) is revolutionising the industry, with the quality difference between bottled and on-premises varieties set to disappear. "The idea is that we've become less fixated on the delivery system," says Sanderson. "Café culture is going mobile."

*Get used to the charge of the Instagram brigade, and of new social network Yummi where users share their food photographs. Restaurants will be increasingly considering the plates they use and lighting they offer to help snaps reach maximum potential on social media. "It's this whole idea of gastronomy fetishisation. It's highly visual, highly engaging… food as theatre, food as porn, continues to be massively relevant," says Sanderson. Say it ain't so, Joe.

thefuturelaboratory.com/au/

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