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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.

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.

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.

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.

Kisume, Melbourne

Chris Lucas has flown in talent from all over the world, including Eleven Madison Park, for his bold new venture. Here’s what to expect from Kisume.

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.

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.

GT's best dishes of 2012: David Sly

1. Sashimi tuna and radish, Celsius
Pretty presentation has become an art form, but this is the most beautiful dish I've seen plated in a long while, a complex sashimi and radish entrée (pictured left) assembled by chef Ayhan Erkoc in a way that's truly elegant - if such a thing can be said about tuna. Celsius, 95-97 Gouger St, Adelaide, SA, (08) 8231 6023

2. Whole carved duck, Mantra on King William
Following the revival of chateaubriand, chef Tom Reid also started serving boards carrying whole carved duck to the table. It combined value, generosity and great flavour with a bit of service theatre  and some starter shots of intense duck broth. I ate the dish in June, just as the weather was getting cold, and it was perfect. It stayed on the menu through winter, then strangely disappeared soon before the restaurant closed. But it was a gem and I'd love it to be remembered. 

3. Blood sausage and parmesan empanadas, Azafrán
A modern spin on traditional Argentinean food by chef Pablo Ranea has him serving a trio of clever empanadas: sweetbread and mushroom, chorizo and onion, and blood sausage and parmesan - matched respectively to tasting glasses of torrontés, malbec and petit verdot. Azafrán, Sarmiento 765, Mendoza, Argentina, +54 261 429 4200

4. Steamed baby squid with squid dumpling, pearl barley tabbouleh and samphire, The Elbow Room
This is a smart embrace of locality and freshness. Chef Nigel Rich has the fishing contacts in the neighbouring Gulf St Vincent to get great fresh baby squid, which he steams and serves with drops of Bloody Mary foam, squid ink sauce made from a reduced fish broth, a crisp squid dumpling and local samphire. The Elbow Room, Cnr Stump Hill & Main Rds, McLaren Vale, SA, (08) 8323 8686

5. Lobster medallion, d'Arry's Verandah
Peter Reschke's signature remains a worthy highlight: an outstanding lobster medallion with blue swimmer crab and prawn ravioli in lobster bisque. d'Arry's Verandah, d'Arenberg Winery, Osborn Rd, McLaren Vale, SA, (08) 8329 4848

6. Ojo de bife, La Cabrera
The king of mod bistro-style steakhouses in Buenos Aires continues to get it absolutely right. The meat portions are uniformly huge, so it's best to share this juicy 600gm ojo de bife, carved at the table with a spoon. This is the happy marriage of tenderness and intense meaty flavour. La Cabrera, 5127 Cabrera St, Buenos Aires, Argentina, +54 11 4832 5754

7. Whiting with buckwheat noodles, Petaluma's Bridgewater Mill
Zac Ronayne's presentation of yellowtail whiting combines the fish in both fried and marinated forms with buckwheat noodles and ponzu to winning effect. Petaluma's Bridgewater Mill, 389 Mount Barker Rd, Bridgewater, SA, (08) 8339 9200

8. Smoked mackerel and potato omelette, Albert Street Food & Wine
Philippa Sibley puts some muscle and magic into breakfast with a gutsy smoked mackerel and potato omelette, refreshed with a generous dab of crème fraîche and some pungent fresh-cut chives. Albert St Food & Wine, 382 Sydney Rd, Brunswick, Vic, (03) 8354 6600

9. Porcini, brodo and egg, Vincenzo's Cucina Vera
Vincenzo LaMontagna found out about the very first tiny crop of porcini mushrooms that sprouted in the Adelaide Hills last year and snaffled a few for his restaurant guests, to an overwhelming response. This March, LaMontagna laid hands on some more, and so diners who arrived for his unscripted nightly dégustation menu got to enjoy these intensely flavoured porcini only a few hours after they were picked. LaMontagna wanted to let the earthy flavours of these potent mushrooms do all the talking, so he simply allowed them to drink up some concentrated chicken stock, complemented by the contrasting soft ooze of a slow-poached egg. Luscious and intense, the flavours lingered as long and true as a fine Barolo. Vincenzo's Cucina Vera, 77 Unley Rd, Parkside, SA, (08) 8271 1000

10. Corvina ceviche, Tanta
Chef Gastón Acurio pushes Peruvian cuisine nouveau, but at his chic café-bistro Tanta the kitchen still shows how great ceviche can be. Big firm chunks of fresh, fleshy sea bass are marinated with the right blend of lime and aji, succulent and juicy, with a tangy, mouth-watering finish - demanding another gulp of an accompanying Pisco Sour. Tanta, Pasaje Santa Rosa, Lima 15001, Peru, +51 1 421 9708

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