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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

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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.

2017 Australian Hotel Awards: The Finalists

This year's finalists across 11 different categories include established and new hotels, all with particular areas of excellence. Stay tuned to find out which hotels will take the top spots when they're announced at a ceremony at QT Melbourne on Wednesday 24 May, and published in our 2017 Australian Hotel Guide, on sale Thursday 25 May.

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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.

Crisp fish, green mango and roast coconut salad


You'll need

Shredded flesh of ¼ mature coconut (see below) For deep-frying: vegetable oil 500 gm barramundi fillet, cut into 8 pieces 1 green mango, shredded on a mandolin 1 bunch mint, shredded 1 bunch Thai basil, leaves picked   Sweet and sour chilli sauce 2 tbsp coconut oil 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped 4 golden shallots, finely chopped 6 dried red chillies, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes, drained, finely chopped 30 gm dried prawns, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes, drained, finely chopped 10 gm piece galangal, finely grated 40 gm light palm sugar, pounded 2 tbsp lime juice (about 1 lime), or to taste 30 ml fish sauce, or to taste 1 tbsp tamarind pulp (see note)

Method

  • 01
  • For sweet and sour chilli sauce, heat oil in a saucepan over high heat, add garlic and shallot and stir occasionally until light golden (5-10 minutes). Add chilli, prawns and galangal and fry until fragrant (5-10 minutes). Drain (reserve oil) and pound in a mortar and pestle until coarsely ground. Return to saucepan with remaining ingredients (adjust seasoning to taste) and stir over high heat until reduced to jam consistency (3-5 minutes), then stir in reserved oil, remove from heat and set aside to cool. Makes about 375ml. Chilli sauce will keep refrigerated for 2 weeks.
  • 02
  • Preheat oven to 180C. Scatter coconut on an oven tray lined with baking paper, roast until light golden, stirring occasionally (10-15 minutes), set aside.
  • 03
  • Heat oil in a deep-fryer or wok to 180C. Add barramundi and deep-fry until golden and crisp (4-6 minutes; be careful as hot oil will spit). Fish may break up as it cooks; this is normal. Drain on absorbent paper, break into small pieces and transfer to a bowl. Add roast coconut, green mango, mint and half the sweet and sour sauce, toss to combine, then transfer to a plate.
  • 04
  • Deep-fry half the basil (optional) until crisp (10-20 seconds; be careful as hot oil will spit), remove with a slotted spoon and scatter over salad with remaining fresh basil. Serve warm with a extra sauce to the side.

Note For tamarind pulp, soak fresh tamarind in hot water, then strain it to remove fibres and seeds. Alternatively, use half the quantity of a good-quality pulp concentrate from an Asian grocer.

Mature coconuts are sold with the outer shell and outer husk removed; the inner husk is brown and hairy. They contain a small amount of liquid and a crunchy white flesh used for making coconut milk and cream. Mature coconuts are available from supermarkets and Asian grocers. To open a mature coconut, pierce two of the eyes (we used a screwdriver) and drain the liquid. Tap firmly around the circumference with the back of a large knife, rotating the coconut with each tap until the shell cracks open. If the coconut smells fermented or the flesh isn't pure white, it's a bad nut.


It's important to make sure the fish is as crisp as can be for use in this salad.


At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Drink Suggestion

Crisp, off-dry riesling.

Featured in

Jan 2011

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