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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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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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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.

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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.

Soft tacos with black bean mole and flank steak


You'll need

1 tbsp olive oil 3 flank steaks (about 200gm each), at room temperature 8 white corn tacos To serve: coarsely crumbled feta, coriander sprigs and lime wedges   Black bean mole 1½ tbsp olive oil ½ Spanish onion, finely chopped ½ carrot, finely grated 1 garlic clove, finely chopped 1 tsp each ground cumin, ground coriander and paprika 1 cinnamon quill 1 tsp finely chopped chipotle chillies in adobo (see note) 400 gm canned black beans, drained and rinsed 250 gm canned cherry tomatoes 1 fresh bay leaf 1 tbsp Dutch-process cocoa

Method

  • 01
  • For black bean mole, heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion, carrot and garlic and sauté until tender (4-5 minutes), then add spices and stir until fragrant (30 seconds). Add remaining ingredients except cocoa, bring to the simmer and cook until thick and well flavoured (8-10 minutes). Discard bay leaf and cinnamon quill, stir in cocoa and season to taste.
  • 02
  • Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, season steak and cook, turning once, until well browned and cooked to your liking (6-7 minutes for medium-rare). Set aside to rest for 5 minutes then thinly slice across the grain.
  • 03
  • Heat a frying pan over high heat and cook tacos, one at a time, turning once until soft and malleable (1 minute). Serve with black bean mole, sliced steak, feta, coriander and lime.

Note Chipotle chillies in adobo sauce are available in cans from select delicatessens.


At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Featured in

Apr 2015

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