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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. 

Secret Tuscany

A far cry from Tuscany’s familiar gently rolling hills, Monte Argentario’s appealing mix of mountain, ocean, island and lagoon makes it one of Italy’s hidden treasures, writes Emiko Davies.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

Farro recipes

Farro can be used in almost any dish, from a robust salad to accompany hearty beer-glazed beef short ribs to a new take on risotto with mushrooms, leek and parmesan. Here are 14 ways with this versatile grain.

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.

Moon Park to open Paper Bird in Potts Point

No, it’s not a pop-up. The team behind Sydney’s Moon Park is back with an all-day east-Asian eatery.

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.

Perfect match: smoked mackerel salad with viognier


You'll need

60 ml (¼ cup) Sherry vinegar 2 tbsp currants 30 ml Marsala 80 ml (1/3 cup) extra-virgin olive oil ½ garlic clove, crushed 1 pink lady apple, quartered, thinly sliced on a mandolin 2 baby fennel bulbs, thinly sliced on a mandolin and placed in iced acidulated water, fronds reserved 1 punnet each baby purple basil and mustard cress, trimmed 1½ cups (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley, coarsely torn To serve: grilled sourdough bread   Smoked mackerel 100 gm woodchips, such as apple wood or mesquite, soaked in cold water for at least 1 hour, drained For greasing: vegetable oil 8 mackerel fillets

Method

  • 01
  • For smoked mackerel, preheat a coal-bedded kettle barbecue to low heat and set up for indirect grilling (see note). Add half of woodchips around coals and cook until smoke appears (3-4 minutes). Place mackerel skin-side down on an oiled rack, cover with lid and smoke, adding extra woodchips if required, until cooked through (8-12 minutes). Cool to room temperature and coarsely flake (discard skin).
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, combine vinegar, currants and Marsala in a bowl and set aside until currants are plump (30 minutes). Whisk in oil and garlic and season to taste.
  • 03
  • Combine apple, fennel, basil, mustard cress, parsley and mackerel in a bowl, drizzle with a little currant dressing, toss to combine and season to taste. Serve drizzled with extra dressing, with grilled sourdough.

Note Indirect grilling is cooking away from the heat, using the top rack. It's important to have your coal base well established and glowing before adding woodchips.


Fish and white wine. A bit of a no-brainer really. Especially in the middle of summer. They go together as perfectly as slip, slop and slap, or beer and beach cricket. But for a dish like this, with its extra layer of smoky flavour, its crunchy-cold bite of fennel and apple and its little spirituous bombs of sweetness in the Marsala-soaked currants, you probably don't want a white that's too light or too crisp and dry; a cheeky young unwooded Hunter semillon, for example, normally such a good fish wine, could taste thin and tart up against the charry and sweet elements of the dish. I've plumped instead for a viognier: a white wine with lots of perfume and rich texture in the mouth, often augmented by fermentation and maturation in barrel. As regular readers will know, at this point I normally recommend wines from three different producers, but this month I'm suggesting you check out wines from just one winemaker. Yalumba has been making viognier for longer than almost anyone in Australia, and has totally nailed the variety at all price points, from around $10 to $50. It is hard to find a viognier better than these.


At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Featured in

Jan 2012

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