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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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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.

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.

Stir-fried bean thread noodles with black bean and chilli mussels


You'll need

5 red shallots 80 ml (1/3 cup) peanut oil 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 2 tbsp minced ginger 40 mussels, scrubbed, beards removed 100 ml Shaoxing wine 200 gm bean thread vermicelli 3 green onions, thinly sliced 3 long red chillies, seeds removed, cut into julienne 60 gm (3 tbsp) salted black beans 1 tbsp white sugar 60 ml (¼ cup) oyster sauce 1 tsp sesame oil 2 small red chillies, thinly sliced 250 gm sugar snap peas, halved lengthways 1 tbsp Chinese black vinegar 1 cup (loosely packed) coriander leaves

Method

  • 01
  • Thinly slice 1 shallot. Heat 2 tbsp peanut oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add shallot, garlic, half the ginger and cook for 3-4 minutes or until fragrant. Add mussels and cook for 1 minute, then add 40ml Shaoxing wine. Cover and cook, shaking pan occasionally, for 3-4 minutes, or until mussels open. Remove mussels from pan, reserving ½ cup liquid.
  • 02
  • Place vermicelli in a large heat-proof bowl, pour over boiling water and stand for 3 minutes, then drain and set aside.
  • 03
  • Cut remaining shallots into wedges. Heat remaining peanut oil in a wok or large frying pan over high heat, add green onion, remaining ginger, shallot, long red chilli and black beans and cook for 3 minutes or until fragrant. Add mussels and drained vermicelli and stir-fry for another 2 minutes, then add remaining Shaoxing wine, sugar, oyster sauce, sesame oil, reserved mussel liquid, chilli and sugar snap peas. Cook for 3 minutes, or until liquid is reduced. Add vinegar and coriander, toss to combine and serve immediately.

Bean thread noodles
What’s in a name? Bean thread noodles are variously known as cellophane, jelly, transparent, glass, silver, green bean thread or invisible noodles. Whatever you choose to call them, they’re one and the same beast, made from an extrusion of mung bean and tapioca starches mixed with water. When soaked, their gelatinous, springy texture is perfect for soaking up cooking juices or gravy, as in this Kylie Kwong-inspired dish. They’re also found in desserts and deep-fried. To make life easier when slurping these slippery creatures, snip the noodles with scissors after they’ve been soaked.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

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