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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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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.

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.

Perfect match: rare roast beef and sauvignon blanc


You'll need

30 ml vegetable oil 1 beef fillet (about 1.2kg), trimmed and tied 250 gm broad beans (about 550gm unpodded) 200 gm peas (about 400gm unpodded) 2 bunches green asparagus, trimmed 400 gm green beans, trimmed   Green goddess dressing 125 ml (½ cup) mayonnaise 125 gm (½ cup) sour cream 40 ml lemon juice, or to taste 2 cups (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped 2 golden shallots, finely chopped 7 anchovies, finely chopped ¼ cup chives, finely chopped 1 garlic clove, finely chopped 2 tbsp capers, rinsed, finely chopped

Method

  • 01
  • Preheat oven to 160C. Heat a large frying pan over high heat, add oil, season beef to taste and cook, turning occasionally, until brown (1-2 minutes each side). Place on a wire rack over a roasting tray and roast until cooked to your liking (35-40 minutes for rare), cover loosely with foil and set aside to rest. Just before serving, thickly slice.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, for green goddess dressing, combine ingredients in a food processor, pulse until combined, refrigerate until required.
  • 03
  • Blanch broad beans and peas (2-3 minutes; see cook’s notes p210), drain and refresh, then blanch asparagus and green beans (2-4 minutes), drain and refresh. Combine in a bowl, drizzle over a little dressing, toss to combine, season to taste. Serve with roast beef and extra dressing to the side.

White wine with beef? Haven't you heard of the golden rules of wine and food matching? Are you mad? Well, not entirely. Most of the flavours and tastes in this dish - snapping-fresh spring vegies, lemon juice, salty anchovies and capers, pungent chives and garlic - are aimed straight at the heart of an aromatic, assertive white wine so it seems crazy not to follow their lead. It's true, though, that the juicy, bloody slices of rich-tasting but lean beef probably call for a red. So I suggest you compromise and choose a strong-tasting white like a sauvignon blanc (remembering that savvy is a genetic parent of the cabernet sauvignon vine, and shares many of the leafy, herbal aspects of the red grape's flavour profile), but one made more like a red wine. Luckily, a small but steadily growing band of adventurous winemakers are fermenting their sauvignon grapes in oak barrels, either partly (they'll ferment some of the juice in barrel, some in a stainless steel tank, and then blend the two components) or wholly. And the results can be remarkably satisfying, deliciously full-bodied white wines, perfect with spring beef salads like this.


At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

Featured in

Oct 2010

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