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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 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.

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.

Slow-roasted leg of lamb with rosé pears and cloves of garlic


You'll need

1 lamb leg with shank attached 20 ml (1 tbsp) olive oil 300 ml rosé 125 ml (½ cup) pear liqueur (see note) 3 Packham pears, halved 50 cloves (about 3½ heads) of garlic, unpeeled ½ bunch of thyme 1 sprig of fresh bay leaves To serve: mesclun salad

Method

  • 01
  • Preheat oven to 150C. Score lamb and season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Heat oil on a flameproof oven tray over high heat, add lamb and cook until browned all over (3 minutes each side). Transfer to a roasting pan, add remaining ingredients except mesclun, and roast, covered with foil, until pears and garlic are soft (about 3 hours). Remove pears and garlic, set aside and keep warm. Roast lamb, basting occasionally, for another hour. Remove lamb and cover with foil to keep warm. Place pan over high heat and cook until juices reduce by half (about 5 minutes). Season to taste.
  • 02
  • Transfer lamb to a platter. Scatter pears and garlic around and spoon over pan juices. Serve with mesclun salad to the side.
Note Pear liqueur is available from select wine merchants.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Drink Suggestion

Boisterous pink wine.

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