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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.

Raisin and Armagnac savarin with chocolate-raisin ice-cream


You'll need

175 gm plain flour, sieved 2 tsp caster sugar ¾ tsp dried yeast 125 ml (½ cup) lukewarm milk 2 eggs, at room temperature 60 gm softened butter, coarsely chopped 30 gm seedless raisins   Chocolate-raisin ice-cream 600 ml pouring cream 200 ml milk 90 ml Armagnac 6 egg yolks 150 gm caster sugar 200 gm dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped 100 gm seedless raisins   Armagnac syrup 250 gm caster sugar 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped 60 ml Armagnac

Method

  • 01
  • For chocolate-raisin ice-cream, combine cream, milk and 40ml Armagnac in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the simmer. Whisk yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl until thick and pale (4-5 minutes), add cream mixture, whisking continuously to combine. Return mixture to pan, stir continuously over low heat until mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon thickly (4-5 minutes). Remove from heat, add chocolate, stir to combine, then strain through a fine sieve into a bowl placed over ice and stir occasionally to cool. Meanwhile, combine raisins and remaining Armagnac in a small saucepan and simmer over low heat until Armagnac is absorbed, set aside to cool. Freeze chocolate mixture in an ice-cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions, then stir through raisins. Transfer to a container and freeze until required. Makes about 1.2 litres.
  • 02
  • Preheat oven to 180C. Combine flour, sugar, yeast and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix on low speed to combine. Add milk and eggs, mix until smooth (3-4 minutes), then add butter and beat on medium-high speed until mixture is smooth and pulls away from sides of bowl (5-10 minutes). Add raisins, mix to combine, then half-fill eight buttered 7cm-diameter savarin moulds and stand in a warm place until risen (10-15 minutes). Bake until risen and golden (6-8 minutes), turn onto a wire rack, pierce each savarin several times with a thin skewer and place in a deep tray.
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, for Armagnac syrup, combine sugar, vanilla bean and seeds and 500ml water in a wide saucepan and stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil. Remove from heat, add Armagnac and pour over savarin. Stand, turning savarin occasionally, until puffed and saturated with syrup (5-6 hours or overnight). Transfer to a wide frying pan with any remaining syrup and warm gently over low heat. Serve savarin and syrup warm with chocolate-raisin ice-cream.

At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

Featured in

Jul 2010

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