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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.

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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.

Spring onion fritters and crisp broad bean leaf tips with preserved-lemon mayonnaise


"Spring onions can be found year round but, as their name suggests, they're best in spring," says Danielle Alvarez. "The technique for these fritters was taught to me by a Persian chef, but the batter is a straight Japanese tempura. Combined with preserved-lemon mayonnaise, they're a lovely little canapé for a spring feast." Makes 16 fritters.

You'll need

8 bulbous spring onions (salad onions), stems trimmed to 3cm from top of bulb 12 broad bean leaf tips (see note) For deep-frying: vegetable oil To serve: lemon wedges   Preserved-lemon mayonnaise 2 egg yolks 1/3 preserved lemon, rinsed, flesh and pith discarded, rind coarsely chopped 250 ml (1 cup) olive oil To taste: lemon juice To serve: smoked paprika   Tempura batter 200 gm (1 1/3 cups) plain flour 60 gm cornflour 1 egg 500 ml (2 cups) chilled sparkling water

Method

  • 01
  • For preserved lemon mayonnaise, process egg yolks and preserved lemon in a blender then, with motor running, slowly drizzle in oil, adding a few drops of cold water midway through to loosen the mixture. Season to taste with lemon juice, sea salt and pepper. Refrigerate until required. Serve sprinkled with paprika.
  • 02
  • Halve spring onions lengthways and slice each half lengthways into strips. Combine in a colander with as much salt as you would use to season a salad and stand until onions wilt and begin to release some of their water (30-35 minutes).
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, for tempura batter, combine flours in a bowl. Whisk egg and 300ml sparkling water in a separate bowl, add to flours and whisk to just combine (be careful not to overmix; some lumps are okay), then add enough of the remaining sparkling water to reach the consistency of heavy cream (you may not need it all).
  • 04
  • Preheat oven to 120C. Heat oil in a large saucepan to 175C. Mix onions in a bowl with enough batter to coat. Drop a tablespoonful into oil to check it holds together (you may need to add more batter), then deep-fry tablespoonfuls in batches until golden (3-4 minutes). Drain on paper towels and keep warm in oven. Dip broad bean leaf tips in batter, shake off excess and deep-fry until golden (1-2 minutes). Serve fritters and broad bean leaf tips hot with preserved-lemon mayonnaise and lemon wedges.

Note Broad bean leaf tips are available from select farmers' markets; substitute large pea tendrils if they're unavailable.


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Drink Suggestion

It’s perfect apéritif food, so match this with something crisp and aromatic, such as a wine made from albariño grapes. My favourite is Zarate Rías Baixas from Galicia in Spain.

Featured in

Nov 2015

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