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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. 

Secret Tuscany

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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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.

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.

Cherry and almond-crumble galette


You'll need

2 (375gm each) butter puff pastry sheets, rolled to 4mm-thick (see note)   Cherry compote 500 gm cherries 60 gm organic ground cane sugar (see note)   Almond crumble 100 gm blanched almonds 1 tbsp organic ground cane sugar   Soured cream 250 gm crème fraîche 150 ml thickened cream 2 tbsp pure icing sugar, sifted 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  • 01
  • Preheat oven to 220C. Cut six 14cm rounds from puff pastry and place on a baking paper-lined oven tray, top with baking paper and another baking tray and bake until deep golden (10-15 minutes).
  • 02
  • For cherry compote, halve and pit cherries, leaving 8-12 whole. Combine with sugar in a saucepan and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and liquid seeps from cherries (3-5 minutes). Keep warm.
  • 03
  • For almond crumble, roast almonds until golden (2-4 minutes), process until coarsely ground, add sugar and pulse to combine.
  • 04
  • For soured cream, whisk crème fraîche, cream, icing sugar and vanilla in a bowl to soft peaks, cover and refrigerate.
  • 05
  • Serve puff pastry rounds topped with cherries and almond crumble scattered over to taste and soured cream to the side.

Note Carême puff pastry comes in pre-rolled 375gm sheets. If unavailable, substitute with another good-quality butter puff pastry. Organic ground cane sugar is available from select delicatessens. Substitute with light brown sugar or raw caster sugar.


At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Featured in

Feb 2009

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