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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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Grilled prawns and calamari with spiced eggplant pilaf


You'll need

110 ml olive oil 1 large purple eggplant, cut into 1cm dice 3 golden shallots, thinly sliced 200 gm cherry or grape tomatoes, halved 1 tsp allspice 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped 200 gm short-grain rice, such as arborio 20 ml (1 tbsp) lemon juice 8 green medium prawns, peeled and intestinal tracts removed, tails intact 2 calamari tubes, cleaned and cut into 3cm strips ¼ cup each of dill sprigs and flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely torn 3 green onions, thinly sliced To serve: lemon wedges

Method

  • 01
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat, add eggplant and cook, stirring frequently, until golden and tender (about 5 minutes), then transfer to a bowl. Add 30ml oil to pan, then shallots, chilli, tomatoes, allspice and half the garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until shallots are tender (5-7 minutes), then stir in reserved eggplant, then rice. Pour over 550ml boiling water and season generously with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to the boil without stirring, reduce heat to low, cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, remove lid, cover with a tea towel, replace lid and stand for 10 minutes.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, combine lemon juice, remaining garlic and olive oil in a non-reactive bowl and season to taste. Add prawns and calamari, stirring to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and stand for 10 minutes to marinate.
  • 03
  • While pilaf is resting, heat a chargrill pan over high heat. Drain prawns and calamari from marinade and cook, in batches, until golden and just cooked (2-3 minutes each side). Set aside.
  • 04
  • Stir herbs and green onion through pilaf, top with grilled seafood and serve with lemon wedges passed separately.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

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