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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.

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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.

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Steak with Bordelaise sauce, shoestring fries and watercress salad


You'll need

100 gm beef bone marrow, cut into 1cm pieces (see note) 20 gm butter 4 golden shallots, thinly sliced 1 tsp sherry vinegar 1 tsp thickened cream ½ tsp (3-4 drops) lemon juice 400 gm frozen shoestring fries, to serve For deep-frying: vegetable oil 1 tbsp olive oil 4 (220 gm each) chateaubriand or scotch fillet steaks (see note) 50 gm watercress, washed, leaves picked and dried, to serve   Walnut vinaigrette 1½ tsp walnut oil 20 ml extra-virgin olive oil ½ tsp Dijon mustard 1 tsp white wine vinegar ½ tsp sherry vinegar   Red wine sauce 750 ml shiraz or cabernet 100 ml ruby port 4 golden shallots, thinly sliced 1 head garlic, halved widthways 2 sprigs thyme 1 fresh bay leaf 1 tsp whole black peppercorns, crushed 100 ml chicken stock 100 ml veal or beef stock

Method

  • 01
  • For red wine sauce, combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until reduced to 1 cup. Remove from heat, add chicken and veal stocks, return to the boil and cook for 15 minutes or until reduced by half, then strain through a fine sieve, discarding solids.
  • 02
  • Blanch bone marrow in boiling water for a few seconds, drain on absorbent paper and set aside. Heat butter in a frying pan over low heat and cook shallot for 5 minutes or until soft but not coloured. Increase heat to medium, add sherry vinegar and boil for a few seconds. Add red wine sauce, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until thick and reduced to 1 cup. Add bone marrow, cream and lemon juice and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set sauce aside and cover to keep warm.
  • 03
  • Heat vegetable oil in a deep-fryer or large deep saucepan to 180C-190C and deep-fry fries for 3-5 minutes or until golden and crisp, then drain on absorbent paper and season with sea salt.
  • 04
  • Heat olive oil in a large frying pan on high heat and cook steaks for 3 minutes on each side for medium rare or until cooked to your liking, then rest for 5 minutes.
  • 05
  • For walnut vinaigrette, whisk together ingredients in a bowl to combine and season to taste. Place watercress in a separate bowl, drizzle with vinaigrette and toss to combine.
  • 06
  • To serve, place steaks onto plates, spoon over warm Bordelaise sauce and serve with fries and watercress salad on the side.
Note Beef bone marrow is available from butchers, but you may need to pre-order it. Chauteaubriand fillet is a thick cut from the tenderloin and is available from Vic's Premium Quality Meat. Chef Daniel Southern's preferred beef supplier is John Dee.

"There is nothing more enjoyable than the steak with Bordelaise sauce at Melbourne's L'Oustal and a big bottle of gutsy red. We would love to replicate it at home. Would you please ask chef Daniel Southern to share his recipe?"
Ben and Edden Asben, Ocean Shores, NSW

Request a recipe
To request a recipe, write to Fare Exchange, Australian Gourmet Traveller, GPO Box 4088, Sydney, NSW 2001, or email us. All requests should include the restaurant's name and address or business card, as well as your name and address.


At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

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