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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.

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Orecchiette Pugliese


You'll need

100 gm coarse fresh breadcrumbs from crusty white bread 120 ml olive oil 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 long red chillies, finely chopped Finely grated rind of 1 lemon 50 gm pecorino, grated 400 gm broccoli 100 gm guanciale, thinly sliced (see note) 500 gm dried orecchiette

Method

  • 01
  • Preheat oven to 160C. Scatter breadcrumbs on an oven tray, bake until dry (8-10 minutes). Set aside.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, heat 70ml oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add one-third of the garlic and half the chilli and stir occasionally until caramelised (1-2 minutes). Add breadcrumbs, stir until golden (3-4 minutes), stir through lemon rind and set aside to cool. When cool, stir through pecorino, season to taste and set aside.
  • 03
  • Cut broccoli into florets, finely chop stems and set aside separately. Cook stems in boiling salted water until almost tender (3-4 minutes), then add florets and cook until both are tender (3-4 minutes). Drain well, process in a food processor until smooth, season to taste and set aside.
  • 04
  • Heat remaining olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add guanciale, remaining garlic and chilli and stir occasionally until tender (3-4 minutes)
  • 05
  • Meanwhile, preheat a grill to high heat. Cook orecchiette in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente (8-10 minutes), then drain, (reserve 60ml pasta water). Return pasta and reserved water to pan, add broccoli purée and stir to combine. Toss through guanciale mixture, season to taste, then divide among four heatproof serving dishes. Scatter over crumb mixture, grill until golden (2-3 minutes) and serve hot.
Note Guanciale is cured pig’s jowl, available from select delicatessens. If unavailable, substitute mild pancetta.

This recipe is from the May 2011 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

“If my father had a signature dish then this would probably be it. He taught me to make these little ear shapes at a very early age.” Guy Grossi makes his own orecchiette for his restaurants, but you can substitute dried pasta. Guy Grossi, Grossi Florentino, Melbourne, Vic

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

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