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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.

Baked pear and walnut tartines with frontignac, prunes and clotted cream


You'll need

80 gm (½ cup) pure icing sugar 3 clapp pears, peeled and cut into 2cm pieces 20 gm unsalted butter 125 ml (½ cup) white frontignac or other dry semi-sweet white wine 12 pitted prunes ½ tsp vanilla paste   Clotted cream 300 ml cream (45% milk fat)   Walnut bread 360 gm bread flour, plus extra for handling 1 tsp dry yeast 2 tsp raw sugar 120 gm walnuts, toasted 1 tsp walnut oil

Method

  • 01
  • For clotted cream, place cream into a 2-cup capacity shallow bowl. Place bowl into a cloth-lined baking dish or saucepan and pour enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides. Cook over low heat until fat separates and rises to the top (about 3½ hours). Cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set (about 2 hours).
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, for walnut bread, combine half the flour and ½ teaspoon salt in a bowl and make a well in the centre. In a separate bowl, combine yeast and sugar with ½ cup lukewarm water. Pour into flour mixture and mix to form a batter, then stand, covered with a tea towel, until foamy (about 10 minutes). Add another 120ml water to the batter and mix to combine. Gradually add remaining flour, mix to form a dough, then turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes), adding more flour if necessary to prevent dough being too sticky. Flatten dough, add walnuts and walnut oil, knead until well combined. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and stand until doubled in size (about 30 minutes). Roll into a 30cm log, stand covered with a tea towel until doubled in size (about 30 minutes). Meanwhile, preheat oven to 220C. Bake bread for 10 minutes, spraying water into oven occasionally so a crust forms. Reduce oven to 190C. Cook until golden and sounds hollow when tapped (20-30 minutes). Cool, thickly slice, lightly toast and place on a heavy-based baking paper-lined oven tray.
  • 03
  • Heat icing sugar in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until dissolved and starting to caramelise. Add pear and butter and cook until caramelised (5 minutes). Add remaining ingredients and cook until reduced to a syrup (about 5 minutes). Using a slotted spoon, spoon pears and prunes over walnut bread, then bake until golden (15 minutes). Drizzle with syrup and serve with cream.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

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