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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.

Duck liver, Jerusalem artichoke and dandelion salad


You'll need

  Salad 800 gm Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil 500 gm duck livers, trimmed (see note) 120 gm young dandelion leaves (see note) 1 red onion, shaved thinly with a mandolin   Mustard vinaigrette 2 tsp hot English mustard 2 tbsp red wine vinegar 50 ml extra-virgin olive oil 2 tsp brown sugar

Method

  • 01
  • Place Jerusalem artichokes in a saucepan, cover with salted water and bring to the boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until just tender when pierced with a skewer. Drain and set aside.
  • 02
  • Preheat oven to 180C. Place artichokes in a roasting pan, drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil and roast for 40 minutes or until crisp and tender.
  • 03
  • For mustard vinaigrette, whisk together mustard and vinegar in a small bowl, then slowly add olive oil, whisking to combine, stir through sugar and season to taste with sea salt.
  • 04
  • Heat remaining oil in a frying pan over high heat, add livers and sauté for 4-5 minutes each side or until firm to touch. Combine dandelion leaves, Jerusalem artichokes, onion and a little dressing and toss to combine. Divide salad among plates, slice liver and arrange over salad and drizzle with remaining dressing.

Note Dandelion is a weed easily found in the suburban environment. Pick the young leaves as the old are very bitter and wash well. If unavailable, substitute with shredded chicory. Duck livers are available from specialty butchers. You may need to order them ahead.


At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Drink Suggestion

Southern French grenache.

Featured in

Aug 2007

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