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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. 

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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.

Crumbed King George Whiting and sauce gribiche


This recipe is from the cookbook Matt Moran (Lantern) by Matt Moran.

You'll need

2 eggs 100 ml milk 100 gm plain flour 200 gm Japanese breadcrumbs 12 King George whiting fillets, skin-off, pin-boned and cut in half lengthways 50 ml grapeseed or vegetable oil 10 gm butter 3 lemons, cut into halves   Sauce gribiche 2 eggs 50 gm gherkins, finely chopped 50 gm capers, finely chopped 80 ml mayonnaise 30 gm chervil, finely chopped 30 gm tarragon, finely chopped

Method

  • 01
  • To make the sauce gribiche, hard-boil the eggs for 7-8 minutes, then shell them and separate the whites from the yolks. Roughly chop the whites (keep the yolks for a sandwich), then transfer to a bowl. Add the gherkins, capers, mayonnaise, chervil and tarragon and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  • 02
  • For the fish, lightly whisk the eggs and milk together in a bowl. Sift the flour onto a large plate, and scatter the Japanese breadcrumbs over another large plate. Pass the whiting fillets through the flour, shaking off the excess, then dip them into the egg and milk mixture before coating in the breadcrumbs. Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan until hot, then pan-fry the fish for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. When the fish is cooked, place on kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.
  • 03
  • Allow four pieces of fish per person, and serve with sauce gribiche and a lemon half alongside.

Fish and chips always remind me of holidays and hot summer evenings at a beach house. King George whiting is a wonderful Australian fish, with a delicate texture but an intense flavour. Japanese breadcrumbs are available from speciality Asian food stores. I prefer them as they're finer, but regular dried breadcrumbs can be used if necessary. It is important to make sure that your oil is both hot and fresh, as you don't want the fish to take on the flavour of stale oil. I like to use a neutral-tasting oil, such as grapeseed or vegetable oil. Sauce gribiche is a variation on the traditional tartare sauce and, of course, you must have plenty of lemon on hand.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Drink Suggestion

A chilled bottle of New Zealand sauvignon blanc is the obvious wine choice here, a refreshing white with flavours of ripe pineapple and mangoes, and a crisp dry finish.

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