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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. 

Barbecued quail with pickled-grape salsa


"In essence, barbecuing really is the oldest form of cooking known to man," says Abboud. "It predates pots and pans and is the most elementary yet incredibly satisfying of techniques. I highly recommend you cook these skewers over hot coals because the smokiness contributes an unmistakable flavour. At Rumi, we use a reconstituted coconut shell charcoal, and the quail, in its various incarnations, has become a bit of a signature. We use onion juice to tenderise and sweeten the meat - this is an Iranian marinating technique. This pickled-grape salsa is the creation of our head chef, Jenna Abbruzzese. She hit this one spot on." Begin this recipe a day ahead to marinate the quail.

You'll need

8 large quail (about 160gm each) 2 onions, coarsely chopped 1¼ tbsp olive oil 2 tbsp dried oregano To serve: fresh oregano   Pickled-grape salsa 180 ml extra-virgin olive oil 150 gm pickled grapes, coarsely chopped, plus 50ml pickling liquid (see note) 2 golden shallots, finely diced 50 ml lemon juice 2 tbsp finely chopped oregano

Method

  • 01
  • Remove the legs and breasts from the quail, (discard carcasses or use to make a stock) and set aside in a non-reactive container. Finely purée onion in a food processor, then strain through a muslin-lined sieve into a bowl. Gather up all corners of the muslin and gently squeeze onion to extract juice. Pour 25ml onion juice over quail (discard solids and remaining juice), add oil, turn quail to coat, scatter with dried oregano, season to taste and refrigerate overnight to marinate.
  • 02
  • Thread quail onto metal skewers and refrigerate until required.
  • 03
  • For pickled-grape salsa, mix ingredients well in a bowl to combine and emulsify, then season to taste and set aside.
  • 04
  • Heat a coal barbecue to medium-high heat and grill quail, turning occasionally, until cooked through and golden brown (6-8 minutes). Scatter with fresh oregano and serve hot with pickled grape salsa.

Note Pickled grapes are available from Middle Eastern grocers.


At A Glance

  • Serves 4 - 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 - 6 people

Drink Suggestion

Lebanese arak or Turkish raki

Featured in

Jan 2014

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