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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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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.

Charcoal-grilled veal wrapped in lardo


"Veal is succulent and beautiful, but if you're not careful with your cooking it can dry out," says Alvarez. "The important thing here is not to have your grill at a raging high heat. Medium heat will allow you to cook this whole piece gently enough without too many flare-ups. Wrapping it in lardo is a way to add flavour and protect the meat as it cooks, while still imparting that charcoal flavour of the grill that we all love. Get your butcher to slice sheets of it for you to make the work fast."

You'll need

2 veal backstraps (about 650gm each), silver skin trimmed, at room temperature 1 head green garlic, crushed with a mortar and pestle (see note) 48 medium-thick slices of lardo (see note) 4 large rosemary sprigs For drizzling: olive oil

Method

  • 01
  • Bring a charcoal barbecue to medium heat. Season veal and rub with garlic. Place lardo slices overlapping on a sheet of baking paper to form a rectangle large enough to wrap each piece of veal, roll baking paper to enclose veal, then gently peel off baking paper. Place a rosemary sprig on each side of each fillet, secure at intervals with kitchen string and drizzle with a little olive oil. Grill, turning frequently, until browned, cooked rare and internal temperature reaches 55C on a meat thermometer (20-25 minutes). Rest for 15 minutes then serve.

Note Green garlic is harvested before the bulb matures. It's juicier and milder in flavour than mature garlic and is available from spring to mid-summer from select greengrocers. Substitute regular garlic if it's unavailable. Lardo is salted, cured pork back-fat, available from Italian delicatessens and butchers.


At A Glance

  • Serves 6 - 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 - 8 people

Drink Suggestion

Match this with a medium-bodied red wine with plenty of flavour, such as the Sicilian grape nero d’Avola; Alpha Box & Dice’s “Siren” from McLaren Vale is a good example.

Featured in

Nov 2015

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