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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. 

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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

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.

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.

Perfect match: onion soup with cabernet franc


You'll need

60 gm butter, coarsely chopped 2 tbsp olive oil 4 onions, thinly sliced 2 tbsp thyme leaves 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1.5 litres (6 cups) vegetable stock 6 slices day-old rye bread 200 gm Cantal (see note), coarsely grated, plus extra to serve

Method

  • 01
  • Preheat oven to 180C. Heat butter and oil in a casserole over low heat until melted, add onion, cover, stir occasionally until tender (35-40 minutes), uncover, increase heat to medium and stir occasionally until caramelised (10-12 minutes). Add thyme and garlic, stir occasionally until tender (2-3 minutes). Add stock, bring to the simmer and set aside.
  • 02
  • Layer bread and two-thirds of the cheese in a 6-litre ovenproof casserole, pour hot soup over, season to taste, cover and bake until golden and bubbling (20-25 minutes).
  • 03
  • Preheat grill to high heat (see note). Scatter soup with remaining cheese and grill until cheese is bubbling and golden (4-5 minutes). Serve hot.

Note Cantal, a semi-hard cow's milk cheese from France's Auvergne region, is available from select delicatessens. If it's unavailable, substitute 100gm raclette and 100gm Gruyère. If you can't fit a casserole under your grill, preheat oven to 220C and bake soup uncovered until cheese is golden and bubbling.


This classic French dish is exactly the kind of hearty, warming fare you'd hope to find in an equally classic French bistro. There are plenty of red wines that fall into the classic bistro category - juicy, thirst-quenching young reds that also have enough substance and grip to help them stand up to the garlicky, rustic, cheesy food. Beaujolais springs to mind, and spicy syrah and grenache blends from the length of the Rhône Valley are also popular, but reds made from the cabernet franc grape, especially those from the Loire Valley, from appellations such as Chinon and Anjou, are all the rage in French bistro land at the moment, and it's not hard to see why. Cabernet franc tends to be juicier, lighter and more approachable than its sturdier offspring, cabernet sauvignon. There's quite a bit of cabernet franc grown in Australian vineyards, and although most of it is blended (usually with cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and petit verdot or malbec - the classic red Bordeaux mix), some producers do bottle it as a single-varietal wine. A good cab franc is lovely with this soup: the black fruit liveliness matches the cheesy perfume and sweetness of the onions, and the cab franc's dusty, sometimes even herbal, streak works with the rye bread.


At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Featured in

Jul 2012

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