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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.

Duck breast and livers with bitter leaves


You'll need

100 ml olive oil 2 duck breasts (about 250gm each), skin scored in a crosshatch pattern 200 gm duck livers, trimmed 50 ml red wine vinegar 25 gm salted baby capers, rinsed and drained 1 tbsp Dijon mustard 1 radicchio (about 230gm), leaves coarsely torn 4 witlof, leaves separated To serve: flat-leaf parsley

Method

  • 01
  • Preheat oven to 150C. Heat half the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add duck skin-side down and cook until golden (3 minutes), then turn and cook until browned (2-3 minutes). Transfer duck to an oven tray and roast until breasts are medium-rare (8-10 minutes). Remove from oven, cover loosely with foil and set aside.
  • 02
  • Add remaining oil to pan, increase heat to high, add livers and cook, turning often, until browned (1-2 minutes). Add vinegar, capers and mustard, season to taste and set aside.
  • 03
  • Arrange salad leaves on plates, thinly slice duck breasts and arrange over leaves, then spoon over warm livers and dressing. Scatter with parsley and serve immediately.
This recipe is from the July 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Drink Suggestion

Deep, dark red Madiran or bold Barossa cabernet.

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