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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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Discovering Macedonia

Like its oft-disputed name, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia defies simple definition but its rich diversity extends from the dinner table to the welcoming locals, writes Richard Cooke.

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.

Lentil, mint and broad bean salad


"On a recent holiday to Brisbane, my family and I enjoyed a wonderful lunch at Alfred & Constance. The lentil and broad bean salad was a particular highlight. Would you please print the recipe."
James Grey, Sydney, NSW

REQUEST A RECIPE
To request a recipe, write to Fare Exchange, Australian Gourmet Traveller, GPO Box 4088, Sydney, NSW 2001, or email fareexchange@bauer-media.com.au. Please include the restaurant's name and address or business card, as well as your name and address.

You'll need

250 gm small green lentils (see note) 150 gm hazelnuts 400 gm podded broad beans (about 700gm unpodded) 2 bunches asparagus, trimmed 1 cup each (loosely packed) mint and flat-leaf parsley, coarsely torn 5 radishes, thinly sliced on a mandolin ½ radicchio, coarsely torn   Hazelnut dressing 60 ml (¼ cup) each hazelnut oil and olive oil Juice of ½ lemon 1 tbsp red wine vinegar (see note) ½ clove garlic, crushed

Method

  • 01
  • Cook lentils in a saucepan of boiling salted water until tender (25-30 minutes). Drain well and place in a large bowl.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180C. Scatter hazelnuts on an oven tray and roast, shaking occasionally, until browned (6-8 minutes). Set aside to cool slightly, then rub with a tea towel to remove skins, coarsely chop and add to lentils.
  • 03
  • For hazelnut dressing, whisk ingredients in a bowl, season to taste and pour onto warm lentils.
  • 04
  • Blanch broad beans and asparagus in separate saucepans until bright green (1 minute), drain, refresh and drain again. Peel broad beans and add to lentils. Halve asparagus and add to lentils. Add remaining ingredients, season to taste, toss to combine and serve warm or at room temperature.
Note At Alfred & Constance, the chefs use Mount Zero French-style fine green lentils and cabernet sauvignon vinegar; both are available from select grocers and delicatessens.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Featured in

Nov 2013

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