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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.

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.

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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

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

Mussel broth scented with basil and saffron


"The sweet combination of saffron, tomatoes and basil gives balance to the briny mussels," says Cooke.

You'll need

100 ml olive oil 50 gm each carrot, celery, onion and golden shallot, finely diced 5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped 4 vine-ripened tomatoes, bases scored ¾ tsp saffron threads 1 cup (firmly packed) basil, stalks reserved 1 fresh bay leaf 1 thyme sprig 100 ml dry white wine 500 ml (2 cups) fish stock 1 kg black mussels, beards removed 200 ml pouring cream

Method

  • 01
  • Heat a frying pan over high heat, add olive oil, vegetables and garlic, and cook covered with a tight-fitting lid until just tender (5-7 minutes).
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, blanch tomatoes until skins split (20 seconds), drain and refresh in iced water. Drain, then remove and reserve skins and seeds, dice flesh and set aside.
  • 03
  • Add saffron, basil stalks, bay leaf, thyme, tomato skins and seeds to vegetables, season to taste, and cook covered until vegetables are tender (5-10 minutes). Remove lid, add wine and reduce by half (5-10 minutes). Add stock and bring to a rapid boil. Add mussels, cover and cook until mussels begin to open (3-5 minutes), then remove from stock. Discard basil stalks, bay leaf and thyme, add cream, bring to a simmer, then remove from heat.
  • 04
  • Remove mussels from shells and transfer half to a blender, add broth and process until smooth, then strain through a fine sieve, season to taste and bring to a simmer.
  • 05
  • Divide remaining mussels among serving bowls with diced tomato and basil leaves, then pour hot mussel broth over and serve.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Drink Suggestion

Equipo Navazos La Bota de Fino Sherry, Jerez.

Featured in

Oct 2014

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