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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.

Kneaded noodles with scallops, clams, ham and XO sauce


Noodles are made five different ways in China: pulled, cut, extruded, peeled or kneaded. For the kneaded method, small amounts of dough are spindled into small noodles; these noodles may be time-consuming to make, but they are well worth it. The texture is velvety and light, similar to that of fresh udon.

You'll need

600 gm clams, soaked in cold water to remove grit, drained 2 tbsp peanut oil 10 gm (2cm piece) ginger, cut into julienne 1 garlic clove, finely chopped 24 scallops with roe 4 prosciutto slices, torn into bite-sized pieces 1½ tbsp XO sauce (see note) 100 gm snow pea tendrils and leaves, plus extra to serve 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine, or to taste 2 tsp soy sauce, or to taste To serve: bean sprouts, trimmed   Kneaded noodles 200 gm “00” flour 100 gm tapioca flour 1 tbsp peanut oil

Method

  • 01
  • For kneaded noodles, combine flours, half the oil and a pinch of salt in a heatproof bowl and set aside. Bring 275ml water to the boil in a saucepan and add flour mixture, then beat with a wooden spoon until smooth and combined. Cover with a damp tea towel, cool slightly (5 minutes), then transfer to a work surface and knead until a smooth and elastic dough forms (5 minutes). Pinch off thumbnail-sized pieces of dough and roll with your hands into approximately 7cm-long noodles, and place on a lightly floured tray. Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil. Cook noodles until just tender (3-5 minutes), then drain, refresh under cold running water, and transfer to a bowl, stir through remaining oil to prevent sticking, set aside.
  • 02
  • Bring 125ml water to the boil in a large saucepan. Add clams and cook, shaking pan occasionally, until clams open (2-4 minutes). Drain (discard liquid) and set aside.
  • 03
  • Heat half the oil in a large wok over high heat, add ginger and garlic and sauté until fragrant (20-30 seconds). Add scallops and prosciutto and sauté until just browned (1-2 minutes), remove from wok and set aside. Heat remaining oil in wok over high heat, add XO sauce and snow pea leaves and stir-fry until starting to wilt (20-30 seconds). Add Shaoxing wine and soy sauce, scallop mixture, reserved clams and noodles, and toss until warmed through (1-2 minutes). Serve topped with extra snow pea leaves and bean sprouts.

Note The best XO sauces in Chinese grocers tend to be in jars. Look for these or use our XO sauce recipe to make your own.


At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Featured in

Apr 2010

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