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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. 

Secret Tuscany

A far cry from Tuscany’s familiar gently rolling hills, Monte Argentario’s appealing mix of mountain, ocean, island and lagoon makes it one of Italy’s hidden treasures, writes Emiko Davies.

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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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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.

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.

Roast corn-fed chook with rocket, radicchio and daikon salad


You'll need

4 heads of young garlic (see note), coarsely chopped Juice of 1 large lemon 1 tbsp Dijon mustard 250 ml (1 cup) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling 1 tbsp coarsely chopped rosemary, plus flowers to serve (optional) 2 corn-fed chickens (1.8kg each) 8 banana chillies, quartered, trimmed, seeds removed 2 tbsp cabernet sauvignon vinegar 1 kg new potatoes, scrubbed 1 kg asparagus (about 4 bunches)   Rocket, radicchio and daikon salad 100 gm rocket 1 Treviso radicchio, leaves separated ¼ daikon, cut into julienne on a mandolin 150 ml extra-virgin olive oil 2 tbsp chardonnay vinegar 1 tsp Dijon mustard

Method

  • 01
  • Process garlic, lemon juice and mustard in a food processor, then season to taste. With motor running, add oil in a thin steady stream until incorporated. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in rosemary. Set aside.
  • 02
  • Halve chickens, removing backbone and thigh bone. Rub generously with garlic marinade and refrigerate until required.
  • 03
  • Preheat oven to 200C. Arrange chillies skin-side up in a baking tray. Dress with olive oil, season to taste and drizzle vinegar over, then roast until tender and slightly charred (25-30 minutes). Keep warm. (You can also roast chillies in advance and reheat to serve.)
  • 04
  • Increase oven to 210C. Place chicken in a roasting pan and roast until skin is crisp and golden and juices run clear when leg is pierced with a skewer (40 minutes).
  • 05
  • Meanwhile, cook potatoes in a saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender (15-20 minutes), then drain. Blanch asparagus until just tender (1-3 minutes). Transfer potatoes and asparagus to pan with roasted chillies, season to taste, toss with extra olive oil, then arrange on a platter.
  • 06
  • For rocket, radicchio and daikon salad, combine rocket, radicchio and daikon in a bowl. Whisk oil, vinegar and mustard in a small bowl to combine, season to taste, pour over salad and toss to combine.
  • 07
  • Halve chicken pieces, place on top of vegetables, sprinkle with rosemary flowers, then pour pan juices over. Serve hot with rocket, radicchio and daikon salad.

Note Young garlic is available from select greengrocers. If it's unavailable, substitute a head of mature garlic.


At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

Featured in

Dec 2012

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