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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.

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.

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.

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.

Where Australia's top chefs want to eat

Clockwise from top left: René Redzepi of Noma and Magnus Nilsson of Fäviken, James Henry of Bones, Daniel Puskas and James Parry of Sixpenny and Brett Graham of The Ledbury.

Clockwise from top left: René Redzepi of Noma and Magnus Nilsson of Fäviken, James Henry of Bones, Daniel Puskas and James Parry of Sixpenny and Brett Graham of The Ledbury.

We asked Australia's leading chefs to name the restaurants they most wanted to visit in 2013. Here are the results.

Twenty years ago, if you'd asked Australia's chefs to name the restaurants they'd most like to visit, chances are you'd have ended up with a list that was almost exclusively French. Restaurants in Brazil or Sweden would have been cause for comment, as having a restaurant in regional Victoria make the top three might've been. Things have changed, it seems. Earlier this year we asked some of today's culinary leaders where they'd like to eat in 2013 and their responses revealed some interesting trends.

Out of the 142 restaurants mentioned, only five are in France. North America, Scandinavia, Japan, and the UK are well represented, as is an impressive number of Australian restaurants. France, while still important, is no longer the fountainhead of inspiration for professional cooks in Australia that it once was. Instead, they want a taste of Magnus Nilsson's innovative Nordic cuisine at Fäviken in Sweden, Alex Atala's contemporary Brazilian at São Paulo's Restaurant DOM - and indeed James Parry and Dan Puskas's ambitious modern Australian at Sixpenny in the suburbs of Sydney.

What are we to make of this? The sample is small, true, but it takes into account the nation's earliest adopters and blazers of trails. The cuisines of Fäviken and Restaurant DOM, the two most popular restaurants on the list, aren't well represented on Australian soil. They also take provenance of ingredients more seriously than most. In the case of Fäviken, a 14-seater in the remote province of Jämtland, Sweden, origin is everything. Almost everything on Nilsson's menu is either grown on the estate the restaurant sits on, or sourced from the immediate vicinity. Though it casts a wider net, geographically speaking, DOM holds to a similar philosophy, putting the produce of the Amazon and Brazil front and centre.

Sydney chef Kylie Kwong says it was this approach that attracted her to Noma, René Redzepi's Copenhagen restaurant. "No cook apart from my mother and Neil Perry has had such an enormous impact on the way I sense, think and feel about food and cooking as René Redzepi," says Kwong. "His cooking philosophy, based around using native ingredients - that which literally grows all around us in our own backyards - to express a certain time and place, to reflect the local traditional cuisine, social, historical, environmental and political landscape, completely resonates with me."

The fact that a great many of the chefs named restaurants in Australia as the places they were most excited to visit is also interesting, with Three Blue Ducks in Sydney, Melbourne's Attica and The Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld, regional Victoria, all polling strongly (our survey took place before chef Dan Hunter announced that he was leaving the restaurant).

If you're looking further afield for stops on your next overseas adventure, there's everything here from Guisados, an east-LA taco joint, to Torihei, an Osaka yakitori bar. The horizons are broad, our chefs are hungry. Dig in.

The top 5 restaurant rankings
1. Fäviken, Järpen, Sweden

2. Sixpenny, Sydney, and Restaurant DOM, São Paulo

3. Three Blue Ducks, Sydney; The Ledbury, London; Attica, Melbourne; and The Royal Mail Hotel, Dunkeld

4. Bones, Paris; Noma, Copenhagen; Husk, Charleston; Sepia, Sydney; Quay, Sydney; Loam, Drysdale; Flower Drum, Melbourne; Momofuku Seiobo, Sydney; and Sukiyabashi Jiro, Tokyo.

5. In De Wulf, Belgium; Guisados, East Los Angles; Maaemo, Oslo; and RyuGin, Tokyo.

See the full list of Australian chefs' favourite restaurants here.

The top 5 restaurant rankings
1. Fäviken, Järpen, Sweden

2. Sixpenny, Sydney, and Restaurant DOM, São Paulo

3. Three Blue Ducks, Sydney; The Ledbury, London; Attica, Melbourne; and The Royal Mail Hotel, Dunkeld

4. Bones, Paris; Noma, Copenhagen; Husk, Charleston; Sepia, Sydney; Quay, Sydney; Loam, Drysdale; Flower Drum, Melbourne; Momofuku Seiobo, Sydney; and Sukiyabashi Jiro, Tokyo.

5. In De Wulf, Belgium; Guisados, East Los Angles; Maaemo, Oslo; and RyuGin, Tokyo.

See the full list of Australian chefs' favourite restaurants here.

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Looking for ways to make the most out of seasonal produce? Want to find a recipe perfect for a party? Or just after fresh ideas for dessert? Either way, our recipe collections have you covered.

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2017 Restaurant Guide

Our 2017 Restaurant Guide is online, covering over 400 restaurants Australia wide. Never wonder where to dine again.

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