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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. 

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.

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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.

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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.

Discovering Macedonia

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.

Potted prawns with pickled shallots


You'll need

250 gm butter, coarsely chopped 1 golden shallot, finely chopped Finely grated rind of 2 lemons ½ tsp dried chilli flakes 500 gm small uncooked prawns, peeled, cleaned, halved lengthways To serve: toasted sourdough baguette and lemon wedges   Pickled shallots 6 golden shallots, thinly sliced on a mandolin 1 tbsp caster sugar 60 ml (¼ cup) white wine vinegar

Method

  • 01
  • Combine butter, shallot, lemon rind and chilli in a saucepan and stir over low heat until butter melts (2-3 minutes). Add prawns, season to taste and stir occasionally until prawns turn just opaque (2-3 minutes). Remove prawns with a slotted spoon and transfer to a shallow 500ml bowl, pressing so prawns are level, then pour over enough butter mixture to cover completely. Refrigerate until chilled and firm (2-3 hours).
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, for pickled shallots, combine shallot, sugar and a large pinch of sea salt in a non-reactive bowl and stand until tender (1 hour). Add vinegar, season with freshly ground black pepper.
  • 03
  • Serve potted prawns on toasted sourdough with lemon wedges to squeeze over and pickled shallots to the side.

At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

Drink Suggestion

Crisp, lemony blanc de blancs sparkling wine.

Featured in

Apr 2011

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