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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. 

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.

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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.

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2017 Australian Hotel Awards: The Finalists

This year's finalists across 11 different categories include established and new hotels, all with particular areas of excellence. Stay tuned to find out which hotels will take the top spots when they're announced at a ceremony at QT Melbourne on Wednesday 24 May, and published in our 2017 Australian Hotel Guide, on sale Thursday 25 May.

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.

Tuna crudo with peperonata


You'll need

200 gm sashimi-grade yellowfin tuna, cut into 1cm-thick slices To serve: extra-virgin olive oil and good-quality tapenade   Peperonata 1 each small red, yellow and green capsicums ½ cup (loosely packed) basil, finely shredded ½ orange, finely grated rind and juice only 1 tbsp cabernet vinegar   Red pepper coulis 35 ml olive oil ½ Spanish onion, finely chopped garlic cloves, crushed ½ small red chilli, finely chopped 1 red capsicum, finely chopped 3 tsp caster sugar 2 tsp sherry vinegar ½ tsp tomato paste ½ orange, finely grated rind and juice only 25 ml white wine 500 ml (2 cups) chicken or vegetable stock ½ cup (loosely packed) basil leaves 25 ml extra-virgin olive oil

Method

  • 01
  • For peperonata, heat a char-grill pan over high heat and cook capsicum, turning occasionally, until charred and soft (15-20 minutes). Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside until cooled to room temperature (1 hour). Peel, finely slice, combine with remaining ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Peperonata will keep refrigerated for 1 week.
  • 02
  • For red pepper coulis, heat a saucepan over low heat, add olive oil, onion, garlic and chilli and stir occasionally until soft (6-8 minutes). Add capsicum and cook until soft (8-10 minutes). Add sugar, vinegar, tomato paste, rind, juice and wine, and cook until reduced by half (1-2 minutes). Add stock and simmer over low heat until reduced to 250ml (35-45 minutes). Cool slightly, then blend in a blender with basil and extra-virgin olive oil until smooth. Season to taste and set aside.
  • 03
  • Combine peperonata and red pepper coulis in a bowl, season to taste and divide among serving plates.
  • 04
  • Cut tuna slices into 6 squares, arrange over peperonata, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve immediately topped with a little tapenade.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

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