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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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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.

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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.

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Kung Pao chicken with Asian salad and ginger relish


You'll need

1 garlic clove 2 cm piece of ginger, coarsely chopped ¼ tsp finely chopped small green chilli 500 gm skinless chicken thigh fillets, thinly sliced 50 ml peanut oil ½ small red capsicum, finely diced ½ small onion, finely diced ½ zucchini, finely diced 2 tbsp soy sauce, or to taste 100 gm raw cashews, roasted 1 long red chilli, seeds removed, thinly sliced lengthways 50 gm (1 cup) each of thinly sliced Chinese cabbage and red cabbage ¼ small Spanish onion, thinly sliced, rinsed in cold water, drained well ½ a small carrot (about 50gm), cut into julienne 25 gm bean sprouts ½ cup each (loosely packed) coriander, Vietnamese mint and basil leaves ½ cup (loosely packed) garlic chives, cut into 4cm lengths   Ginger relish 6 cm piece of ginger (about 60gm), coarsely chopped 1 small garlic clove 2 tbsp caster sugar 1 small golden shallot, thinly sliced Juice of 1 lime 45 ml coconut vinegar (see note)   Kung Pao dressing 2 tsp chilli oil, or to taste 1¼ tbsp rice wine vinegar 1¼ tsp caster sugar 2¼ tsp vegetable oil ¾ tsp sesame oil ½ tsp mirin

Method

  • 01
  • Pound garlic, ginger, green chilli and 1 tsp sea salt in a mortar and pestle to a smooth paste. Place chicken in a non-reactive container, add garlic paste, stirring to combine, then cover, refrigerate and marinate for 1 hour.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, for ginger relish, pound ginger, garlic and sugar in a mortar and pestle to a smooth paste. Add shallots, stir to combine. Add lime juice and coconut vinegar, set aside. Makes 150ml.
  • 03
  • For Kung Pao dressing, combine all ingredients and ½ tsp sea salt in a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside. Makes 100ml.
  • 04
  • Heat peanut oil in a wok over high heat. Add chicken and cook until almost cooked through (3-5 minutes), then add capsicum, onion and zucchini and cook until chicken is cooked through (1-2 minutes). Season with soy sauce. Add cashews, set aside, keep warm.
  • 05
  • In a bowl, combine remaining ingredients.Drizzle with 100ml Kung Pao dressing, toss gently to combine. Divide chicken and vegetable mixture between plates, top with Kung Pao salad, then drizzle plate with ginger relish and serve immediately.
Note Coconut vinegar is available from Asian supermarkets. If unavailable, substitute with rice wine vinegar.

“I was really taken by Sian Bressolles’ Kung Pao chicken salad at Mao Mao’s. I’d love to get the recipe so I can make it at home.”
Annabelle Johnson, Norman Park, Qld

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 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

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