Healthy Eating

We're championing fresh food that packs a flavour punch, from salads and vegetable-packed bowls to grains and light desserts.

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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.

Farro recipes

Farro can be used in almost any dish, from a robust salad to accompany hearty beer-glazed beef short ribs to a new take on risotto with mushrooms, leek and parmesan. Here are 14 ways with this versatile grain.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

Moon Park to open Paper Bird in Potts Point

No, it’s not a pop-up. The team behind Sydney’s Moon Park is back with an all-day east-Asian eatery.

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.

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.

Discovering Macedonia

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.

Via Alta
Italian
  • 197 High st,
    Willoughby,
    Sydney, NSW
  • (02) 9958 1110,
    viaalta.com.au/
  • Lunch Tue-Sun noon-3pm;

    Dinner daily 6pm-10pm

     

Via Alta
-33.79623,151.20103

"This restaurant is very Italian," says our very Italian waiter. So Italian, in fact, that she accidentally announces the price of one of the dishes in euros. It all adds to the charm of this offshoot of star chef Alessandro Pavoni's more formal Ormeggio. Via Alta means "high street" (check the address), and here the mood is that of a relaxed trattoria, the warm interiors accented with timber, soft lighting and leather banquettes. A generous list of daily specials runs from staples such as the ever-popular arancini, this version with mushroom and truffled pecorino, and insalata Caprese, the classic tomato and buffalo mozzarella salad, to swordfish carpaccio dressed dramatically with squid ink and pink peppercorns. Butter-tender calamari fritti might be a safe option, but it's also executed masterfully, and there's nonna-level comfort in the hearty pappardelle with beef cheek ragù. A welcome taste of northern Italy on the north shore.


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At a glance

  • Wine:
  • One glass
  • Price:
  • E $16-$19

    M $24-$36

    D $14

  • Feature:
  • BYO
    Licensed
    Wheelchair Access
    Private room
    Impressive Wine List
  • Cards:
  • American Express
    Eftpos
    MasterCard
    Visa
  • Bookings:
  • Bookings recommended
  • Chef:
  • Alex Keene

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