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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. 

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.

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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.

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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.

Pea and ham soup

Pork belly and kimchi stew with cauliflower “rice”


"Korean food has really made its mark in Australia over the last five years, and rightly so. It's packed with flavour, steeped in culture and they've perfected so many wonderful cooking techniques," says Evans. "One of their signature dishes, that most people have heard of, is kimchi, a dish of spiced fermented cabbage that pretty much rocks my world on a weekly basis. We always have a few jars of kimchi in our fridge at home that we make from scratch and, like other fermented vegetables, it's full of beneficial bacteria, which our guts love. It's important to note that once fermented vegetables are heated, they lose this bacteria."

You'll need

60 ml (1/4 cup) tamari 1 tbsp sesame oil 1 tbsp finely grated ginger 1 tsp honey 1 kg pork belly, cut into 2.5cm dice 2 tbsp ghee, macadamia oil or coconut oil 8 shiitake mushrooms 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped 3 spring onions, thinly sliced, plus extra to serve 750 ml (3 cups) chicken stock 300 gm kimchi, drained and coarsely chopped ½ tsp Korean chilli powder (gochugaru; see note) ½ carrot, peeled and coarsely grated   Cauliflower “rice” 1 kg cauliflower, broken into florets, stems coarsely chopped 2 tbsp coconut oil

Method

  • 01
  • Combine tamari, sesame oil, ginger, honey and pork in a large bowl and toss to coat meat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to marinate (1 hour).
  • 02
  • Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add pork belly (reserving marinade) and brown, turning occasionally (5 minutes). Add mushrooms, garlic and spring onions and sauté until softened (1-2 minutes). Add reserved marinade and chicken stock to pan, then add kimchi and chilli powder, and bring to the boil. Gently simmer, covered until pork belly is tender (35-40 minutes), then add carrots, stir to combine and season to taste.
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, for cauliflower “rice”, pulse cauliflower in a food processor until it resembles grains of rice. Heat coconut oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add cauliflower and stir occasionally until softened (4-6 minutes). Season to taste, then serve with pork belly and kimchi stew, scattered with spring onions.

Note Gochugaru is available from Korean and Asian grocers.


At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Featured in

Aug 2014

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