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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

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.

Fancy Hank's Bar-B-Que, Mrs Luu's Vietnamese Canteen, Pigs On Fire, Amazy Chinese Takeaway

Fancy Hank's Bar-B-Que, Melbourne

Fancy Hank's Bar-B-Que, Melbourne

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country this week including Fancy Hank's Bar-B-Que, Mrs Luu's Vietnamese Canteen, Pigs On Fire, and Amazy Chinese Takeaway.

MELBOURNE 
Fancy Hank's Bar-B-Que
The moveable feast that is Fancy Hank's Bar-B-Que (pictured) has found a semi-permanent home at the Princes Park Bowling Club, and the combination of authentic American barbecue - smoky, spicy brisket, pulled pork and baby back ribs from Otway, sides of house-made pickles, coleslaw and potato salad - and lawn bowls is a surprisingly snug fit. Owner-operators Kent Bell and Rob Cattanach (who also own Collingwood's Cavallero) took a barbecue tour of the American south and had their authentic barbecue equipment made to order. The results, served on brown paper on a red plastic tray, speak volumes about good research. Fancy Hank's Bar-B-Que, Princes Park Bowling Club, 104 Bowen Cres, Carlton North, Vic. MICHAEL HARDEN

BRISBANE
Mrs Luu's Vietnamese Canteen
First the bad news. Get here after 11.15am and you'll need to join the queue out the door of this simple little diner to taste Mrs Luu's banh mi. Arrive after 2.15pm and you'll probably go hungry. And the good news? These guys are pros. Beneath the crisp crust of their locally baked Viet-style baguettes you'll find a fluffy interior crammed with a jumble of house-made pâté, punchy pickled daikon, carrot and fresh coriander. Whether you add the house-made porchetta, barbecued pork and Vietnamese ham (Three Little Piggies) or opt for a fillet of chilli-laced chicken, marinated flank steak, omelette or pork chop, you'll be back for more. The name Mrs Luu's honours co-owners John and Thuy (Frankie) Nguyen's mum, who owned Trang at West End, and the marinade recipes are all hers. Alongside banh mi, you'll find a choice of plump goi cuon rice paper rolls crammed with a selection of six fillings, three varieties of com using jasmine rice and six vermicelli salads. Drinks-wise, consider the house-made lemonade or a lemon iced tea, or pick up some coconut juice. Drip-filter Vietnamese coffee is done the trad way before 11.30am; after that it's pre-made and ready to go. Mrs Luu's Vietnamese Canteen, 25 Railway Tce, Milton, Qld (07) 3369 5760. FIONA DONNELLY

ADELAIDE
Pigs On Fire
With all of Adelaide out on the streets during the Adelaide Festival and Fringe, street food is the flavour of the moment - none more enticing than barbecue pork offerings from the Pigs On Fire stall, within the Garden of Unearthly Delights carnival site. Dutchman Didier Prince came with four crew members and a five-metre high tripod and two-metre wide two-tier hotplate to barbecue pork cuts, and has caused a sensation. So far, in just two weeks, they've cooked 300 pigs and 3500 special-recipe pork sausages from Richard Gunner's Feast Fine Foods. They will remain at the garden site until 17 March, so get down there to try their pork VOC sausage (rich in cloves, and named after the 18th-century Dutch East Indies spice-trading company) with mayonnaise and Amsterdam pickle, or pork belly marinated in their secret sauce for 24 hours. Garden of Unearthly Delights, Rundle Park, East Tce, Adelaide, SA. DAVID SLY

PERTH
Amazy Chinese Takeaway
When it comes to real-deal Asian food, Victoria Park's Albany Highway has long offered rich pickings. One of the latest additions to an already impressive gene pool is Amazy, a mustard-coloured shoebox of a restaurant specialising in the chilli-laden cuisine of Sichuan province. Come for deeply coloured chicken wings rolled in white sesame seeds and ground chilli. Come for cold slices of porcine and bovine offal, bathed in various sauces including an addictive garlic and chilli number. Come for a hearty rendition of that perennial lazy Susan favourite, Sichuan chicken: bulked up with a good amount of taters, onions, celery and - oh yes - chilli, it's a complete meal that's good to go the second it hits your table. But most importantly, come hungry. Dishes are as big in volume as they are in flavour, which probably explains why dinner reservations are a very, very wise idea. Amazy Chinese Takeaway, Shop 4, 393 Albany Hwy, Victoria Park, WA, (08) 9472 0042. MAX VEENHUYZEN

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