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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.

Grilled apricot salad with jamon and Manchego

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.

Discovering Macedonia

Like its oft-disputed name, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia defies simple definition but its rich diversity extends from the dinner table to the welcoming locals, writes Richard Cooke.

2017 Australian Hotel Awards: The Finalists

This year's finalists across 11 different categories include established and new hotels, all with particular areas of excellence. Stay tuned to find out which hotels will take the top spots when they're announced at a ceremony at QT Melbourne on Wednesday 24 May, and published in our 2017 Australian Hotel Guide, on sale Thursday 25 May.

Cuttlefish tostada


"This tostada recipe is inspired by one of the most famous restaurants in Baja California," says Sam Ward, "a roadside cart called La Guerrerense, which is rumoured to have the best tostadas in the world."

You'll need

For deep-frying: vegetable oil 6 15cm-diameter corn tortillas 4 cuttlefish fillets (200gm each uncleaned; 60gm each cleaned), cleaned, cut into thin 6cm-long strips 2 tbsp white masa harina (see note) To serve: coriander leaves and thinly sliced radish Juice of 1 lime, or to taste   Corn vinaigrette 90 ml canola oil 1 large corn cob (about 400gm), kernels removed 1 golden shallot, finely diced 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 jalapeño, finely diced 1 tsp ground cumin 1 tsp each dried oregano and dried or fresh epazote (see note) 25 gm caster sugar 50 ml white malt vinegar (see note)   Tomato salsa 100 ml canola oil 3 large vine-ripened tomatoes (180gm each), quartered, seeds removed 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 1 fresh bay leaf   Pickled jalapeños 100 ml white malt vinegar (see note) 35 gm caster sugar 2 jalapeños, thinly sliced into rounds

Method

  • 01
  • For corn vinaigrette, heat 2 tbsp oil in a small saucepan over low heat, add corn, shallot, garlic and jalapeño and stir occasionally until tender but not coloured (5 minutes). Add cumin, oregano and epazote, cook for 1 minute, then add sugar and cook until sugar starts to caramelise (3-4 minutes). Add vinegar and bring to the boil. Remove from heat, add remaining oil, season to taste and cool.
  • 02
  • For tomato salsa, heat oil, tomato, garlic and bay leaf in a small saucepan over low heat and stir occasionally until tomato is very tender (20 minutes). Set aside to cool slightly, drain excess oil (discard bay leaf and tomato skins), then mash the tomato mixture with a fork and set aside.
  • 03
  • For pickled jalapeños, place vinegar, sugar and 50ml water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to the simmer. Add jalapeños and set aside to cool in liquid (20 minutes).
  • 04
  • Heat oil in a deep-fryer to 180C. Deep-fry tortillas in batches until crisp and golden (3 minutes; be careful, hot oil will spit). Drain on absorbent paper and keep warm.
  • 05
  • Toss cuttlefish in masa harina, dust off excess and deep-fry in batches until just cooked and golden (1 minute). Drain on absorbent paper, place in a bowl and add coriander, radish, drained pickled jalapeños, half the corn vinaigrette and lime juice to taste and toss to combine. If salad is too dry, add more vinaigrette.
  • 06
  • To serve, divide tostadas among plates, top with a dollop of tomato salsa, scatter with cuttlefish salad and drizzle with remaining corn vinaigrette.

Note Epazote is available from Fireworks Foods and Monterey Mexican Foods. White malt vinegar is available from select delicatessens; if it isn't available, substitute half apple cider and half malt vinegar. White masa harina (also known as masa flour or harina de maíz) is a white nixtamalised corn flour; it's available from Monterey Mexican Foods and Fireworks Foods.


At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Drink Suggestion

2012 Mac Forbes RS14 Riesling, Strathbogie Ranges, Vic.

Featured in

Sep 2013

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