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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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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.

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.

Sesame cucumber


"This recipe was given to me when I cooked for an arts festival on Shodoshima Island in Japan last year," says McConnell. "In a small fishing village, the locals cooked a welcome banquet for the artists, with yakitori, locally grown cucumbers and locally caught seafood. We stood around a barbecue at the community centre in the village, snacking on food on sticks."

You'll need

8 baby cucumbers (cukes) 80 ml (1/3 cup) light soy sauce 80 ml (1/3 cup) rice wine vinegar 2 tsp caster sugar 70 gm (5 tbsp) sesame seeds

Method

  • 01
  • Peel strips off the cucumbers until half the skin is removed. Mix soy, vinegar and sugar in a bowl. Place cucumbers into a zip-lock bag with the vinegar mixture and marinate in the fridge (4 hours).
  • 02
  • Remove cucumbers and pat dry. Toast sesame seeds in a hot dry frying pan on medium heat, stirring until they start to turn golden (2-4 minutes). Cool seeds on a plate, then roughly grind a coarse crumb with a mortar with a pestle. Thread cucumbers on bamboo skewers, roll in sesame crumbs to coat and serve.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Drink Suggestion

2008 Meerea Park “Alexander Munro” Sémillon, Hunter Valley. Lively and crisp, the wine’s typical Hunter acidity can handle the vinegar in this dish, but also displays classic notes of lemon curd and toast.

Featured in

Apr 2014

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