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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.

Porchetta heroes with cabbage, parmesan and almond salad


You'll need

4 kg boneless pork shoulder 2 bunches sage, coarsely chopped 10 rosemary sprigs, coarsely chopped 8 garlic cloves, crushed 2¾ tsp fennel seeds, dry-roasted, crushed 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil To serve: small white rolls, such as ciabatta, halved   Mustard dressing 150 ml extra-virgin olive oil 40 ml aged chardonnay vinegar 1 tbsp walnut oil 1 tbsp crème fraîche 1 small garlic clove, crushed 2 tsp Champagne mustard or Dijon mustard   Cabbage, parmesan and almond salad 1 small white cabbage (about 900gm) 6 golden shallots, thinly shaved 100 gm marcona almonds, roasted (see note) 80 gm parmesan, finely grated 1 punnet radish sprouts

Method

  • 01
  • Preheat oven to 130C. Score pork skin in a 1cm cross-hatch pattern and rub liberally with salt, rubbing into the cuts, then lay skin-side down on a work surface. Pound herbs, garlic, fennel seeds and 1 tbsp sea salt flakes in a mortar and pestle to a coarse paste and rub all over flesh of pork. Roll pork, tie loosely at intervals with kitchen string, then brush with oil. Transfer to a roasting pan and roast, basting occasionally, until golden and tender (3 hours-3½ hours). Increase oven to 220C, cook until skin is crisp (15-30 minutes), rest uncovered for 30 minutes before carving.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, for mustard dressing, whisk ingredients in a bowl and season to taste.
  • 03
  • For cabbage, parmesan and almond salad, toss ingredients in a bowl to combine, season to taste, drizzle mustard dressing over and stand for flavours to combine (1-2 minutes), then serve with carved porchetta and rolls.

Note Marcona almonds, a Spanish variety, are available from select delicatessens; if unavailable, substitute blanched almonds.


Cooking a large joint of meat makes entertaining easy when you're feeding a crowd, and this pork is no exception. Place the salad, rolls, meat and a carving set on the table and let everyone help themselves.


At A Glance

  • Serves 16 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 16 people

Drink Suggestion

Wine suggestion Pale, dry rosé.

Featured in

Nov 2011

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