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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. 

Mum's crisp quail


"Eating small birds is one of life's true pleasures and I order this dish every time I go to Mum's restaurant," says Hong. "I love it because the quail skin is always super-crisp, the dressing is super-tasty and, somehow, this dish makes me like capsicum. On an ordinary day, I don't care for capsicum, but the way this dish is prepared, it's a winner." Start this recipe a day ahead to marinate the quail.

You'll need

125 ml (½ cup) Knorr Liquid Seasoning (see note) 150 gm caster sugar 100 ml dry Sherry 2½ tbsp salt 1 tbsp finely grated ginger 1 spring onion, finely chopped 1 tsp ground white pepper 6 quails, quartered 175 gm potato starch (see note) For deep-frying: vegetable oil To serve: lemon cheeks and watercress   Capsicum salsa 1 each red, green and yellow capsicum, finely diced 1½ tsp salt 3½ tbsp vegetable oil 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 tsp chilli flakes 2 tsp caster (superfine) sugar

Method

  • 01
  • Whisk together Knorr Liquid Seasoning, sugar, Sherry, salt ginger, spring onion and white pepper in a large bowl, then add the quail pieces and turn them through the marinade to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but ideally for 24 hours.
  • 02
  • For capsicum salsa, place capsicum in a bowl, add the salt and mix well. Let mixture stand for 1 hour, then drain off the water that has leached out. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat, then add the garlic and fry until golden and crisp (30 seconds to 1 minute). Add capsicum, chilli flakes, sugar and remaining oil. Stir well, remove from the heat and set aside.
  • 03
  • The next day, add the potato starch to the marinating quail and mix until the starch and marinade combine and coat the quail. Fill a large wok or deep-fryer to a third full with oil and heat to 180C or until a cube of bread dropped in the oil turns golden in 15 seconds. Deep-fry the quail in batches, turning occasionally, for about 4 minutes each batch, or until golden and very crisp. Drain on paper towels. Transfer to a serving plate and top with the capsicum salsa and watercress sprigs, and serve with lemon cheeks.

Note Knorr Liquid Seasoning and potato starch are available from Asian grocers. 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 medium-bodied white wine with texture and hints of spice: I’d open an Ottin Petite Arvine Valle d’Aosta, Italy.

Featured in

Nov 2014

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