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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. 

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

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.

2017 Australian Hotel Awards: The Finalists

This year's finalists across 11 different categories include established and new hotels, all with particular areas of excellence. Stay tuned to find out which hotels will take the top spots when they're announced at a ceremony at QT Melbourne on Wednesday 24 May, and published in our 2017 Australian Hotel Guide, on sale Thursday 25 May.

Izakaya Fujiyama, G-Doggz, Savour Tasmania, Hihou

Izakaya Fujiyama, Sydney

Izakaya Fujiyama, Sydney

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country this week including Izakaya Fujiyama, G-Doggz, Savour Tasmania, and Hihou.

SYDNEY
Izakaya Fujiyama
Kenji Maenaka (pictured) has rolled out a battery of reasons to revisit your favourite rock 'n' roll izakaya. For one thing, he's taken the sushi-making into his own hands and has taken it up a notch. "I'm ageing the tuna myself like we do in Japan, blending my own soy sauce and pressure-cooking the Australian-grown koshihikari rice, just like Jiro in Tokyo," he says. "I'm not sure all this is necessary for sushi we're serving in an izakaya, but I just want to make the food as tasty as it can be." In addition to the impressive sushi and sashimi options, making the most of fish fattened up for winter, there's more traditionally cockle-warming stuff on offer. The Hokkaido-style six-hour milk-fed lamb and sweet soy-braised oxtail with gobo are right up there, but the real contest is between the tuna belly sanzoku, bubbling away on a hot rock with chilli and garlic, and the sensational hay-smoked duck with pickled peaches. But why make it a competition? Order both and everyone wins. Izakaya Fujiyama, shop G09, 38-52 Waterloo St, Surry Hills, NSW, (02) 9698 2797 PAT NOURSE

BRISBANE
G-Doggz
Meet G-Doggz, an industrially chic, New York-style hotdog hole-in-the-wall joint and bar from Brad and Angelica Jolly of Alchemy Restaurant & Bar. A tight, reasonably priced drinks list - Anchor Steam Ale for $8, jugs of James Squire One Fifty Lashes for $17 - is matched by a short but globetrotting, fusion-leaning hotdog carte fielding decent sausages made by old-style butcher Petersen's Quality Meats and lightweight un-grilled Le Sebastien buns. Try a lip-smacking Chow Chow, a juicy pork number topped with kimchi and a zigzag of wasabi mayo; or the Devil Dogg, a jalapeño, pork and cheese sausage topped with chilli sauce and diced, ripe fresh tomatoes. Most dogs can be unleashed for about $10 and there's also a Sloppy Dog, for those who prefer to hang loose. G-Doggz, 356 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley, Qld, (07) 3854 0051 FIONA DONNELLY

HOBART
Red Wine Weekend at Savour Tasmania
The hot dining tickets for this year's Savour Tasmania, including dinners jointly cooked by In de Wulf's Kobe Desramaults and Luke Burgess from Garagistes, are sold out, alas, but happily tickets are still available for the Red Wine Weekend. As well as a chance to try some of Tasmania's award-winning red wines and talk to their makers, there's a host of masterclasses. They include one by Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine's own Nick Stock on Tasmanian pinot noir and another by ourselves on food and wine matching, including some matches that we hope will be provoking. Princes Wharf 1, Castray Esplanade, Hobart, Tas SUE DYSON & ROGER MCSHANE

MELBOURNE
Hihou
Hihou, the gorgeous Japanese cocktail bar overlooking the Treasury Gardens, is attracting a whole new gaggle of admirers now that it opens for lunch. Most are there for the set menu: $35 buys you a course of chilled morsels (perhaps some sashimi and a tiny snowpea and raw scallop salad topped with black sesame seeds), a choice of main course (house-made udon noodles in a clear kansai broth with seaweed and diamond clams, for instance) and tea or coffee. There's an à la carte option too, some good sweet stuff and a whole load of great sake, should the mood strike. Hihou, Level 1, 1 Flinders La, Melbourne, Vic, (03) 9639 9500 MICHAEL HARDEN

Got a hot tip for our Hot Plates team? Tweet us at @gourmettweets, or tag your Instagram photos with #GThotplates.


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