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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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Mushrooms on toast with poached eggs and hollandaise


You'll need

100 ml olive oil 400 gm mixed mushrooms, such as pine and chestnut 40 gm butter, coarsely chopped 2 golden shallots, finely chopped 1 garlic clove, finely chopped 2 tsp thyme 1 tbsp finely chopped chives, plus extra to serve 8 eggs, at room temperature Splash of white vinegar 4 thick slices sourdough bread To serve: softened butter   Hollandaise sauce golden shallots, finely diced 50 ml white wine vinegar 1 tsp black peppercorns, crushed 1 tarragon sprig 125 gm butter, coarsely chopped 2 egg yolks To taste: Tabasco sauce

Method

  • 01
  • For hollandaise sauce, simmer shallot, vinegar, pepper and tarragon in a small saucepan over medium heat until reduced by half (2-3 minutes). Set aside to cool, then refrigerate to infuse (6 hours-overnight). Heat butter in a saucepan over low heat, skimming to remove milk solids (discard) until clear (12-15 minutes), strain through a fine sieve lined with muslin, set aside and keep warm. Whisk yolks, vinegar reduction and 1 tbsp water in a heatproof bowl over simmering water until thick and emulsified (3-4 minutes). Slowly add butter in a thin steady stream, whisking until all is incorporated. Thin to sauce consistency with a little warm water if necessary, add Tabasco to taste, cover and keep warm.
  • 02
  • Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add mushrooms, cook until just golden (2-3 minutes), season to taste and set aside on absorbent paper. Wipe pan with absorbent paper, reduce heat to medium, add butter and heat until foaming. Add shallot, garlic and thyme, stir continuously until shallot is tender (1-2 minutes), add mushrooms and chives, season to taste and keep warm.
  • 03
  • Preheat grill to medium-high heat and grill bread until golden (1-2 minutes each side).
  • 04
  • Meanwhile, poach eggs in a large saucepan of simmering water with a splash of vinegar over medium heat until soft-poached (2½ minutes), then drain on absorbent paper.
  • 05
  • To serve, spread toast with butter, top with mushroom mixture, then poached eggs, spoon hollandaise sauce over and scatter with chives.
This recipe is from the June 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller

“My favourite breakfast is served at London’s Hawksmoor Guildhall: mushrooms and eggs on toast with hollandaise. Please share the recipe.”
Amber Greenwood, Notting Hill, England

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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

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