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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. 

Farro recipes

Farro can be used in almost any dish, from a robust salad to accompany hearty beer-glazed beef short ribs to a new take on risotto with mushrooms, leek and parmesan. Here are 14 ways with this versatile grain.

Secret Tuscany

A far cry from Tuscany’s familiar gently rolling hills, Monte Argentario’s appealing mix of mountain, ocean, island and lagoon makes it one of Italy’s hidden treasures, writes Emiko Davies.

Moon Park to open Paper Bird in Potts Point

No, it’s not a pop-up. The team behind Sydney’s Moon Park is back with an all-day east-Asian eatery.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

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 fish with sambal matah, watermelon and cucumber


"Bali has a special place in my heart because my wife is Indonesian and we were married in Bali," says Hong. "When we are there, we go to Jimbaran Bay. It's quite touristy, but we don't care because it doesn't get much better than eating freshly caught, grilled seafood on the beach with sand between your toes. Sambal matah is a traditional Balinese sambal that (unlike many other kinds of sambal) is uncooked. In that respect, it's much like a salsa, but a lot more intense. It is perfect with grilled fish or shellfish, such as lobster and prawns. The sambal is quite spicy, so the watermelon and cucumber salad adds cooling freshness. Good fish to use are baby snapper, flounder or baby barramundi. Ask your fishmonger to scale and gut it."

You'll need

1 whole fish (about 750gm; see above) For brushing: vegetable oil To serve: lime wedges   Sambal matah 100 ml grapeseed oil 10 red shallots, thinly sliced 5 long red chillies, finely chopped 5 birdseye chillies, thinly sliced 5 kaffir lime leaves, very thinly sliced 2 lemongrass stems (pale part only), very thinly sliced 2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped Juice of 2 limes 2½ tbsp fish sauce 1½ tbsp coconut oil 2 tsp caster (superfine) sugar 1 tsp shrimp paste   Watermelon salad 100 gm seedless watermelon, cut into 1cm cubes 1 Lebanese cucumber, seeded, cut into 1cm cubes 5 coriander leaves, thinly sliced 5 mint leaves, thinly sliced 5 Vietnamese mint leaves, thinly sliced 2 tbsp nuoc cham (see prawn toast with yuzu mayonnaise, coriander and mint recipe)

Method

  • 01
  • For the sambal matah, mix all the ingredients and 1 tsp fine salt together in a bowl until well combined. Set aside.
  • 02
  • For watermelon salad, toss the watermelon, cucumber and herbs together in a bowl and dress with nuoc cham.
  • 03
  • Season the fish with salt and brush it with vegetable oil. Heat a char-grill pan or barbecue to very hot, which will help prevent the skin from sticking. Put the fish on the grill and after about 4 minutes carefully flip it with a large spatula. It should be nicely charred. Cook for another 4 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.
  • 04
  • Transfer to a serving dish and spoon some sambal matah and the watermelon salad over the top. Serve with wedges of lime.

Note This recipe is from Mr Hong ($49.99, hbk), published by Murdoch Books and has been reproduced with GT style changes.


At A Glance

  • Serves 4 - 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 - 6 people

Drink Suggestion

A very fresh wine with a good mouthfeel – I’d go with an exciting new producer of Vouvray in the Loire Valley, Sébastien Brunet.

Featured in

Nov 2014

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