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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.

Sticky pork ribs with rapadura salt


You'll need

2 tbsp olive oil 1 Spanish onion, coarsely chopped 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 400 gm canned tomatoes 1.5 kg American-style pork spare ribs 180 gm rapadura (see note) 160 ml white vinegar 120 ml barbecue sauce 120 ml tequila 60 ml each Worcestershire sauce and chipotle sauce (see note) To serve: lime wedges   Rapadura salt 30 gm sea salt flakes 100 gm rapadura 2 tsp ground chilli, or to taste Finely grated rind of 2 limes

Method

  • 01
  • Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion and garlic and stir occasionally until tender (4-5 minutes), then transfer to a food processor, add tomato and process until puréed. Transfer to a large non-reactive container, add remaining ingredients (except lime wedges), stir to coat ribs, cover and refrigerate to marinate (2-3 hours).
  • 02
  • Preheat oven to 150C. Spread ribs and marinade in a single layer in two roasting pans, cover with foil and cook, basting occasionally, until ribs are tender (2½-3 hours).
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, for rapadura salt, combine ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
  • 04
  • Transfer marinade to a saucepan and simmer over medium-high heat until reduced to a glaze (15-20 minutes).
  • 05
  • Preheat a char-grill pan over high heat. Char-grill ribs, turning and basting occasionally with marinade, until charred and sticky (12-15 minutes), then thickly slice. Serve hot with rapadura salt and lime wedges.

Note Rapadura is the Portuguese name for the sugarcane juice product common in South American countries including Brazil and Venezuela. It has a distinct caramel flavour and a fine grain. Chipotle sauce is available from Monterey Mexican Foods and select delicatessens.


At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Drink Suggestion

Plenty of icy cold lager.

Featured in

Sep 2011

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