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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.

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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

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.

Eightysix, CIRA Pizza e Birra, Sarti, Toastface Grillah

Eightysix, Canberra

Eightysix, Canberra

CANBERRA
Eightysix
Eightysix (pictured) may be channelling the likes of Cumulus Inc. in its form and function, but it's a form of flattery locals are willing to tolerate. A new arrival in increasingly hip city-side Braddon, it's all about shared tasting plates from an evolving blackboard menu. Pickled pork terrine, hand-cut steak tartare, and punchy bream ceviche are musts for starters. Kick on with some sharply plated vitello tonnato - the veal just pink and tuna mayo perfectly piquant. Weekend breakfast options such as brioche, honeycomb and ricotta look promising, too. Gen Y is very much in charge of the asylum here, with tablet-tapping inner-city types sipping the Kool-Aid and nodding to a punchy playlist of soul, R&B and disco. Eightysix, Mode 3 building, Elouera St, Braddon, ACT, (02) 6161 8686. GARETH MEYER

SYDNEY
CIRA Pizza e Birra pop-up lunch
Italians know their pizza (it is, after all, their pizza). Beer, on the other hand, hasn't always been something you'd automatically associate with Italy. CIRA, the Council of Italian Restaurants in Australia, is out to update that perception. It's hosting a pop-up lunch this weekend to showcase some of the boot's most exciting boutique and artisanal beers and serving them alongside pizze prepared by a host of Sydney's top Italian chefs (Luigi Esposito from Via Napoli, Alessandro Pavoni of Ormeggio, and Eugenio Maiale of A Tavola among them). Drinks-wise, the spotlight will be set on a range of unique beer labels such as Birra Ronzani (from Emilia-Romagna), Terisiana (Friuli-Venezia Giulia), Birra del Borgo (Lazio) and Ichnusa (Sardinia). In true Italian style, kids are welcome and there'll be lots of noise, tons of fun and, of course, plenty of exceptional pizza and beer. Pizza e Birra, noon, Sunday April 28, Miramare Gardens, Terrey Hills, NSW. Tickets are $59 (children $25). For bookings and more information visit cira.com.au. MAYA KERTHYASA

MELBOURNE
Sarti
The recent departure of chef and co-owner Riccardo Momesso has led to some re-jigging and re-branding at Sarti. Though the modern Italian theme (in both look and flavour) is still setting the pace, former Sosta Cucina head chef Paolo Masciopinto now heads the kitchen, dishing up skilfully cooked, big-flavoured food that treads the modern-riff-on-tradition path. Highlights? Gnocchi fritti, little warm pillows of fried dough flavoured with parmesan and duck fat that arrive with the salumi selection and a brilliant slow-cooked duck cannelloni served with mushroom foam and parmesan wafers. Sarti, 6 Russell Place, Melbourne, Vic, (03) 9639 7822. MICHAEL HARDEN

PERTH
Toastface Grillah
Tasty sandwiches at honest-to-goodness prices? Can it be all so simple? Even if the Wu-Tang Clan reference is lost on you, Toastface Grillah's brand of gooey cheese comfort is plain as day. From the distinctly Aussie one-two of cheddar and Vegemite to the ritzy brie, prosciutto and zucchini swagger of the Danny Zuccho, here's a laneway café reminding us all just how great toasted sandwiches can be. Sensibly priced teas and coffees plus a welcome that's as warm as the stringy cheese and soulful soundtrack make this an excellent CBD refuelling station. Look for the spray-paint mural of the gun-toting SpongeBob SquarePants lookalike. Toastface Grillah, Grand Theatre La, Perth, WA. MAX VEENHUYZEN

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