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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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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.

O Tama Carey's fried eggs with seeni sambol, coconut and turmeric

"I first cooked a version of this dish - inspired by the excellent deep-fried egg dish at Billy Kwong - while working at a restaurant in Sri Lanka," says O Tama Carey. "The lattice-like eggs are doused in a creamy turmeric curry sauce and topped with seeni sambol, a sweet-spiced caramelised onion relish. This dish is equally perfect for an indulgent breakfast as it is served as part of a larger meal." The recipe for the seeni sambol makes more than you need, but to get the right balance of spices you need to make at least this much. It keeps refrigerated for up to three weeks; use as an onion relish. The curry sauce can be made a day or two ahead.

Braised beef cheek, burghul salad, and bread and anchovy sauce


You'll need

80 ml (⅓ cup) olive oil 1 onion, finely chopped 1 carrot, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 thyme sprig 4 beef cheeks (about 350gm each), trimmed 1 tbsp plain flour 350 ml dark ale 100 ml red wine 100 gm tomato purée   Burghul salad 150 gm coarse burghul 1 Lebanese cucumber, seeds removed, finely diced 30 ml extra-virgin olive oil 2 tsp red wine vinegar To serve: micro-herbs, such as baby lamb's lettuce or micro-cress   Bread and anchovy sauce 125 ml (½ cup) chicken stock 30 gm day-old white crusty bread, coarsely torn 3 anchovy fillets 2 tsp olive oil

Method

  • 01
  • Preheat oven to 140C. Heat half the oil in a casserole over medium heat, add onion, carrot, garlic and thyme, stir occasionally until onion is tender (8-10 minutes), transfer vegetables and thyme to a bowl and set aside. Heat remaining oil in pan, add beef cheeks and cook, turning once, until browned (3-4 minutes). Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add flour, stir occasionally until sand-coloured (1-2 minutes), add ale, wine and tomato purée, then return vegetables, thyme and beef to casserole. Add enough water to just cover, cover with foil, pierce foil with a sharp knife and braise until beef is very tender (3½-4 hours).
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, for burghul salad, cook burghul in a saucepan of boiling salted water over medium-high heat until tender (2-3 minutes), drain well and spread on a tray to cool. Combine in a bowl with cucumber, oil and vinegar, season to taste and set aside.
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, for bread and anchovy sauce, stir ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat until bread is very soft (2-3 minutes), remove from heat, purée with a hand-held blender and season to taste. Serve warm with beef cheeks and burghul salad scattered with micro-herbs.
This recipe is from the July 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

"I recently celebrated my 40th birthday at Embrasse. Chef Nic Poelaert served a wonderful braised beef cheek with burghul; I would love to make the recipe at home."
Margaret Georgesen, Carlton, Vic

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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