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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.

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.

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.

2017 Australian Hotel Awards: The Finalists

This year's finalists across 11 different categories include established and new hotels, all with particular areas of excellence. Stay tuned to find out which hotels will take the top spots when they're announced at a ceremony at QT Melbourne on Wednesday 24 May, and published in our 2017 Australian Hotel Guide, on sale Thursday 25 May.

Porcini fondue


You'll need

40 gm dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in 1½ cups hot water for 15 minutes 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 2 tsp cornflour 40 ml kirsch 1 cup sauvignon blanc or other dry white wine 220 gm Gruyère, coarsely grated 220 gm Emmenthal cheese, coarsely grated 1 loaf ciabatta or other rustic bread, cut into 2½ cm cubes 500 gm baby new potatoes, boiled and halved To serve: pickled baby onions and gherkins

Method

  • 01
  • Drain mushrooms through a sieve placed over a bowl, reserve liquid, then finely chop mushrooms. Heat soaking liquid in a frying pan, add mushrooms and garlic to pan, and simmer over medium heat for 7-10 minutes or until liquid is almost aborbed. Season to taste with sea salt and ground black pepper.
  • 02
  • Combine cornflour and kirsch in a bowl, stirring until dissolved.
  • 03
  • Heat fondue pot over low heat, then add wine and bring to a simmer. Add cheeses, and stir continuously until melted. Stir in cornstarch mixture and cook for 2 minutes or until fondue thickens slightly and begins to bubble. Then stir in porcini mushrooms and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • 04
  • Using fondue forks, dip bread and potatoes into fondue mix and serve with pickled baby onions and gherkins.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Drink Suggestion

Cold schnapps.

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