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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.

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.

Bistecca Fiorentina


You'll need

1.5 kg kipfler potatoes, scrubbed, coarsely chopped 2 tbsp (firmly packed) rosemary leaves 80 ml (1/3 cup) extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling 4 T-bone steaks (400gm each), at room temperature   Salsa verde 200 gm day-old sourdough bread, coarsely torn 150 ml red wine vinegar 2 cups (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped 3 anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped 1 tbsp salted capers, rinsed 60 ml (¼ cup) extra-virgin olive oil

Method

  • 01
  • Preheat oven to 200C. Combine potato, rosemary and 50ml oil in a large roasting tray, mix well, season to taste, then roast, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp (25-30 minutes). Keep warm.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, for salsa verde, combine bread and vinegar in a small bowl and stand until vinegar is almost absorbed (5-7 minutes). Process parsley, anchovy, garlic, capers and bread mixture in a food processor until a coarse paste forms, then stir in oil, season to taste and set aside.
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, preheat a large char-grill or barbecue over high heat. Drizzle steaks with remaining oil, season to taste and grill on all sides, including the bone side, until cooked (3-4 minutes on all sides for rare). Transfer to a plate, cover loosely with foil and set aside to rest (10 minutes). Serve steaks with warm potatoes and salsa verde.
This recipe is from the May 2010 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

“The bistecca Fiorentina is one of the most supreme physical pleasures in this earthly life. This dish cannot be improved upon nor modernised because it is perfect as is.” Glowing words from Dario Cecchini, the Chianti butcher with a reputation as Italy’s best. This man knows his steak, and with hands almost as large as the dinosaur-sized T-bone he raves about, who are we to argue?

A piece of meat this size is not for the faint-hearted. Nor is it to be consumed solo; even our smaller-than-average version will happily serve two. Italian supermarkets stock this steak at 5cm thick, but such thick cuts aren’t readily available ’round these parts, so ask your butcher to cut it for you, and, while you’re at it, ask for dry-aged. Traditionally, this dish features beef from massive Chianina cattle. Their sheer size means a T-bone can easily exceed 1kg yet still be tender and flavourful.

Make sure you take the meat out of the refrigerator several hours before you plan to start cooking to bring it to room temperature. Bistecca Fiorentina is traditionally cooked over hot coals from red or evergreen oak that have burnt past their hottest point, but a char-grill will suffice. Cook all sides, including the bone side, and rest it in a warm place for at least half the cooking time. While we agree with Cecchini on most procedural points, when it comes to seasoning we must demur. He forbids “salt or other seasoning that would offend this culinary alchemy”, but in our book it’s all about the seasoning – before and after cooking. Cecchini suggests a glass of Chianti in hand during cooking “for courage and inspiration”, and on this we must agree.


At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

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