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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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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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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.

Salad of poached tuna, feta stuffed eggplant and beans


You'll need

2 200 gm tuna steaks 400 gm baby green beans, trimmed, blanched and refreshed in iced water 2 cups firmly packed rocket 50 gm pinenuts, roasted   Filled eggplants 2½ tbsp olive oil 4 Japanese eggplants, peeled, with stem end intact 100 gm feta, crumbled ¼ cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley 2 lemons, finely grated rind only Pinch allspice   Rosemary vinaigrette 100 ml extra-virgin olive oil 3 chopped anchovy fillets 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic 100 ml red wine vinegar 1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary 3 bay leaves   Fresh tomato and caper relish 4 egg tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped 1 small Spanish onion, finely chopped 2 tsp baby capers 15 basil leaves, torn 4 anchovy fillets, finely chopped ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil 2 tbsp lemon juice

Method

  • 01
  • For rosemary vinaigrette, place olive oil, anchovies and garlic in a saucepan and cook over low heat until lukewarm. Whisk in vinegar, 1½ tbsp water, rosemary and bay leaves, then simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool until required. Makes about 200ml.
  • 02
  • For tomato and caper relish, combine tomatoes, onion, capers, basil and anchovy fillets in a bowl. Add olive oil and lemon juice, season to taste and toss to combine well.
  • 03
  • Half fill a wide saucepan with salted water and heat over low heat until 70C, add tuna and cook for 5 minutes, then remove tuna from pan, cool to room temperature. Cut into thin slices.
  • 04
  • Meanwhile, for filled eggplants, heat olive oil in a frying pan, add eggplant and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until soft and golden all over. Remove, drain on absorbent paper, then cut a pocket lengthways in each eggplant, leaving ends joined. Combine feta, parsley, lemon rind and allspice in a bowl, then divide stuffing among eggplant, place in a roasting pan and bake at 180C for 5 minutes or until heated through.
  • 05
  • Place tuna, beans, rocket and pinenuts in bowl. Add enough rosemary vinaigrette to just coat, then season to taste and toss well to combine. Divide salad and filled eggplant among bowls, top with a spoonful of tomato and caper relish and serve immediately.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

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