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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.

Triple-cream cheese with Australian truffles, honeyed walnuts and fruit bread


You'll need

200 gm triple cream cheese, such as delice d’Bourgogne or Saint André, at room temperature To serve: shaved truffle   Fruit bread 250 gm plain flour 15 gm dried yeast 1½ tbsp hazelnut oil 1 tbsp (20gm) honey 50 gm each of dried apricots and figs, finely chopped 50 gm each of hazelnuts and walnuts, coarsely chopped   Honeyed walnuts 2 tbsp honey 1 tbsp grapeseed oil 5 ml walnut oil 1 rosemary sprig 200 gm walnuts, roasted

Method

  • 01
  • For fruit bread, preheat oven to 220C. Combine flour, yeast, hazelnut oil, honey and 15gm salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on low speed until well combined, then add 250ml water or enough to form a smooth dough. Add dried fruit and nuts and mix until just combined. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and stand in a warm place until double in size (30 minutes). Knock dough back, then roll into a 5cm-wide and 20cm-long log. Transfer to a lightly floured heavy-based oven tray and cook until golden and sounds hollow when tapped (18-20 minutes). Cool on a wire rack.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, for honeyed walnuts, combine honey, oils and rosemary in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until honey softens (4-5 minutes). Add walnuts, stir to combine, then set aside to cool.
  • 03
  • Slice fruit bread and arrange on a platter with cheese and honeyed walnuts. Scatter shaved truffle over cheese and serve immediately.

“For this new-age cheese plate, any good-quality cheese, brought to room temperature before serving, would work. I prefer to use the truffles from Western Australia which are incredible and getting better and better each season.” — Warren Turnbull

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Drink Suggestion

Medium to full-bodied malbec or tannat.

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