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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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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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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.

Shane Delia: 12-hour roast lamb with pistachio and green-olive tabbouleh


You'll need

30 gm (¼ cup) cumin seeds 2 garlic heads 2 tbsp sumac Zested rind of 3 lemons 2 tbsp sea salt flakes 1 lamb leg (2.4kg), shank end detached   Green-olive tabbouleh 200 gm pistachio kernels 100 gm coarse burghul 1 cup (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped 1/3 cup (loosely packed) mint leaves, coarsely chopped 150 gm Sicilian green olives, pitted, crushed 4 garlic cloves, crushed Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon 2 tbsp olive oil

Method

  • 01
  • Dry-roast cumin seeds, cool slightly, then coarsely pound in a mortar and pestle and set aside. Pound garlic in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of sea salt until a coarse paste forms, add cumin seeds, sumac, lemon rind and sea salt flakes and grind until a paste forms.
  • 02
  • Score lamb with a sharp knife and rub garlic paste over lamb. Place in an airtight non-reactive container and refrigerate to marinate (2 days).
  • 03
  • Preheat oven to 110C. Transfer lamb to a roasting pan and roast, basting occasionally, until the meat falls from the bone and the outside is golden brown and sticky (12 hours). Remove from oven and keep warm.
  • 04
  • For green-olive tabbouleh, increase oven to 170C. Scatter pistachios on an oven tray and roast until golden (4-6 minutes). Cool, then coarsely crush and set aside in a large bowl. Meanwhile, place burghul in a bowl, cover completely with warm water and stand until tender (30-40 minutes). Drain well, then add to pistachios with remaining ingredients, season to taste and serve with warm lamb.
This recipe is from the April 2010 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

“This is the heart and soul of Maha; it sums up what we’re about. Good product, simple and humble cooking, maximum flavour. Try to find a lamb with a good covering of fat because there are no added fats in the cooking process and this will help it to stay moist.” You’ll need to begin this recipe 3 days ahead.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Drink Suggestion

Bottle-aged Coonawarra cabernet.

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