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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.

Strawberry shortbread


You'll need

400 gm unsalted butter, softened 400 gm caster sugar 1 egg yolk 500 gm plain flour 1 kg fresh strawberries (about 4 punnets), each evenly sized about 2cm long, hulled and halved lengthways 120 ml heavy cream (45% milk fat), whipped To serve: icing sugar and mint sprigs   Strawberry coulis 500 gm strawberries, hulled and sliced 150 gm icing sugar

Method

  • 01
  • Cream butter and sugar together by hand in a bowl. Mix in egg yolk, then add flour. Rub in with the fingers to form a crumbly texture.
  • 02
  • Place mixture on a working surface and rub together, then roll into a ball. Cover in plastic wrap, leave to rest and set in the fridge for at least 12 hours.
  • 03
  • Roll dough out until 3mm thick and, using a 9cm-round cutter, cut into 18 circles. Rest these for another hour in the fridge.
  • 04
  • Preheat oven to 170C. Bake circles on a baking paper-lined tray until light brown (10-12 minutes). Be careful as the taste changes as the pastries darken.
  • 05
  • Meanwhile, to make strawberry coulis, place strawberries in a bowl and cover with sugar. Leave for 2 to 3 hours while the sugar draws out the natural fruit juices. Purée the mixture then pass purée through a fine sieve to catch all the seeds. Chill until needed.
  • 06
  • You will need 3 biscuits for each serving. Place a biscuit on each serving plate to form the base. Carefully place the halved strawberries on top to form a single layer, preferably with the strawberries standing upright.
  • 07
  • Pipe a small round of whipped cream in the centre of the strawberries on your base biscuit. Very carefully, use a palette knife to lift another biscuit and place on top of cream. Add another row of strawberries, pipe a small round of whipped cream in the centre and place the third, final biscuit on top. Dust with icing sugar, place a strawberry on top and garnish with a sprig of mint.
  • 08
  • To serve, spoon strawberry coulis around the plate. If you want, you can pour heavy cream over the top of the biscuit, allowing it to cascade down the sides.

Note This recipe is from Marco Pierre White's Great British Feast (Orion, $55, hbk). In editing this recipe for publication we have made minor changes to bring it into Gourmet Traveller style.


Shortbread pastry must be made at least 12 hours ahead. You can freeze any leftover dough: roll it into a cylinder and slice off what you need as you need it. The baked shortbread biscuits will keep for a few days in an airtight container. You'll need to begin this recipe a day ahead.


At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Featured in

Sep 2008

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