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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. 

Damien Pignolet's salad of grilled scallops, witlof, Roquefort and hazelnuts

"One autumn afternoon while on holiday in Paris, I discovered a tiny restaurant with walls covered in white and blue tiles, a former crèmerie," says Damien Pignolet. "Reading the menu I was entranced by this at first curious-sounding salad. On second thought, it was the perfect balance of sweet, salty and acidic flavours, with the texture of seared scallops contrasted by the slight bitterness of the witlof and married by the toasty hazelnut vinaigrette. I asked the young waiter if there might be a table available for dinner and he obliged with, 'Bien sûr, Monsieur.' At 11pm I returned to enjoy this brilliant salade composée. I brought it back to my then restaurant, Claude's, and then to Bistro Moncur in Sydney. Now I'm at Regatta in Rose Bay and we offer this marvel as a special; it's always well received, I guess because it ticks all the palate boxes."

You'll need

50 gm hazelnuts 600 gm scallops, roe attached, hard white muscle trimmed 1 tbsp vegetable oil 3-4 witlof, trimmed, leaves separated 120 gm Roquefort, broken into pieces and refrigerated again   Hazelnut vinaigrette 60 ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil 2 tbsp hazelnut oil 1½ tbsp cider vinegar, or to taste (see note)


  • 01
  • Lightly toast hazelnuts in a dry frying pan over medium-high heat (3-4 minutes). Tip into a tea towel and rub off the skins, then coarsely chop.
  • 02
  • For hazelnut vinaigrette, whisk ingredients and finely ground white pepper to taste in a large bowl, adjusting ingredients to create a spike of acidity.
  • 03
  • Heat a frying pan over very high heat. Pat scallops dry with paper towels, brush pan with oil, season scallops and sear in 3 batches, turning once, until a crust forms, keeping the flesh close to raw internally (1 minute each side). As each batch is seared toss in the bowl with vinaigrette.
  • 04
  • Arrange witlof, scallops and Roquefort on plates, sprinkle with hazelnuts, drizzle with vinaigrette, season to taste and serve.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Additional Notes

Damien Pignolet likes to use vinaigre de cidre aux algues, échalotes et la fleur de sel (cider vinegar infused with seaweed, shallots and fleur de sel), available at Simon Johnson.

Featured in

Nov 2016

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