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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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O Tama Carey's fried eggs with seeni sambol, coconut and turmeric

"I first cooked a version of this dish - inspired by the excellent deep-fried egg dish at Billy Kwong - while working at a restaurant in Sri Lanka," says O Tama Carey. "The lattice-like eggs are doused in a creamy turmeric curry sauce and topped with seeni sambol, a sweet-spiced caramelised onion relish. This dish is equally perfect for an indulgent breakfast as it is served as part of a larger meal." The recipe for the seeni sambol makes more than you need, but to get the right balance of spices you need to make at least this much. It keeps refrigerated for up to three weeks; use as an onion relish. The curry sauce can be made a day or two ahead.

Escabeche


You'll need

1 tsp cumin seeds 2 tbsp plain flour ½ tsp chilli powder 12 small red mullet fillets, skin on and pin-boned 300 ml extra-virgin olive oil 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped ½ cup (125ml) red wine vinegar 2 fresh bay leaves 2 sprigs thyme 1 small red chilli, thinly sliced 1 tsp Spanish unsmoked sweet paprika For serving: coriander, dill, mint, at-leaf parsley and oregano leaves, roughly chopped For serving: crusty bread

Method

  • 01
  • Place the cumin seeds in a small frying pan (without any oil) and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant. Watch them closely as they burn quickly. Grind the roasted cumin seeds to a powder using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, then set aside.
  • 02
  • Combine the flour, chilli powder and 2 tsp salt flakes. Check the fish for any remaining scales, then dust it lightly in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess.
  • 03
  • Heat a frying pan and add 100ml of the oil. When hot, fry the fish in small batches for 2-3 minutes, until golden and cooked through. Place the cooked fish in a single layer in a small non-reactive dish.
  • 04
  • Combine the garlic, vinegar, bay leaves, thyme, sliced chilli, paprika, cumin, ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper and remaining oil in a saucepan and carefully heat over medium heat until almost boiling.
  • 05
  • Remove the hot marinade from the heat and pour it over the fish. Cover with foil and leave to marinate for 1 hour at room temperature.
  • 06
  • Remove the fish from the marinade and place on a serving plate. Toss the herbs with enough of the marinating liquid to coat them.
  • 07
  • Serve the fish with the herbs sprinkled over the top and crusty bread on the side.

Note This recipe was published in the Sydney Seafood School Cookbook ($49.99, hbk, Penguin Lantern) by Roberta Muir and has been reproduced with minor GT style changes.


Escabeche is a Spanish dish of fried fish covered in a hot vinegar marinade and typically served cold. Variations of the dish are popular in Italy, Portugal, France, North Africa, South America and the Philippines. Originally, this technique was used to preserve the fish, which would have had a much stronger flavour than Christine Manfield's modern version here. The fish can be eaten at room temperature as soon as the marinade has cooled down, but it can also be kept refrigerated for up to three days.


At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Featured in

Jan 2013

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