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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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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.

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.

Tagliatelle with porcini, pine nuts, fresh tomato and thyme


You'll need

65 gm dried porcini mushrooms 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 125 ml (½ cup) white wine 1 tsp finely chopped long red chilli 3 Roma tomatoes, finely chopped 20 gm pine nuts, roasted 1 sprig thyme, leaves removed To serve: shaved parmesan   Pasta dough 300 gm (2 cups) plain flour 3 egg yolks 1 egg   Napoli sauce 2 tbsp olive oil ½ onion, coarsely chopped 2 tsp caster sugar 200 gm canned whole tomatoes, puréed

Method

  • 01
  • For pasta dough, combine ingredients in bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment and mix until smooth, adding 30ml water or enough to bring dough together. On a lightly floured surface knead until smooth, shape into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a tea towel and stand in a cool place for 1 hour. Divide into four pieces, then knead each piece on a lightly floured surface for 5 minutes. Using a pasta machine set at the widest setting, feed floured pieces through the rollers, reducing settings notch by notch, until dough is 3mm thick. Using a 10mm wide fettuccine cutter, cut pasta into strips, place on a lightly floured tray and stand for 1 hour to dry.
  • 02
  • For Napoli sauce, combine olive oil, onion, sugar and ½ tsp sea salt in a frying pan over medium heat and cook for 5 minutes or until soft. Add tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes or until sauce thickens and starts to colour, season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Makes about ½ cup.
  • 03
  • Soak porcini mushrooms in 2 cups of warm water for 15 minutes or until soft. Squeeze excess water from mushrooms, coarsely chop, and set aside. Strain soaking liquid and reserve.
  • 04
  • Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat, cook garlic for 2 minutes or until soft, add porcini and cook for 3 minutes. Add wine and ¼ cup reserved porcini liquid, bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes or until thick. Add Napoli sauce and chilli, season to taste and cook for 5 minutes or until thick enough to coat pasta. Add Roma tomatoes, pine nuts and thyme. Season to taste. Keep warm.
  • 05
  • Meanwhile, bring 5 litres of water to the boil and add 1 tsp olive oil and sea salt to taste. Cook pasta in batches, returning water to boil and cooking for 3-4 minutes or until al dente. Drain and add to porcini sauce. Serve immediately with shaved parmesan.

"Considering Broome's isolation, the team at Café Carlotta continues to amaze me with its flavoursome Italian cuisine. I would love to have Jason Viola's recipe for wild mushroom pasta, which is divine. "
Kerry Margitich, via email

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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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