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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.

Stokehouse Pop-Up, Yellow, Mondo Organics, Sri Devi Curry House

Stokehouse Pop-Up, Melbourne

Stokehouse Pop-Up, Melbourne

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country this week including Stokehouse Pop-Up, Yellow, Mondo Organics, and Sri Devi Curry House.

MELBOURNE
Stokehouse Pop-Up
Just a month after a fire and an incredibly efficient demolition/clean-up process that left no trace of the former building a day after it had burned, St Kilda's Stokehouse rides again, albeit in pop-up form. Residing in a large white marquee, resplendent with timber floors, glass windows, an outdoor terrace and stacked racks of greenery adding a well-tuned note of beach-house style to the surprisingly elegant space, it's unmistakably Stokehouse. Oliver Gould from Stokehouse restaurant (upstairs) is sharing the kitchen with Nick Mahlook who ran Stokehouse café (downstairs) and the menu takes an egalitarian upstairs/downstairs approach. Beer-battered fish and chips, Moreton Bay bug pasta, burgers and the long-time signature dessert - The Bombe, a white chocolate parfait and meringue favourite - are all present and correct. Just like the late Stokehouse, it's open seven days and will continue operating until the site is needed for a new, more permanent structure. Stokehouse Pop-Up, 30 Jacka Blvd, St Kilda, Vic, (03) 9525 5555. MICHAEL HARDEN

SYDNEY
Yellow
The new Bentley is the talk of the CBD lunch crowd, but Nick Hildebrandt and Brent Savage's bistro, Yellow, has the weekend covered with its new brunch menu. Served from 8am 'till 3pm Saturdays and Sundays, breakfast à la Savage is typically outré: three gooey poached eggs in a charred-onion flavoured broth with mushrooms, peas and grains for texture, say, or the stunning must-order-at-all-cost sweet-savoury liquorice bread, decked out with a sprinkle of salt flakes and cultured butter to the side. Sandwiches come on at 11am: scrambled eggs, jamón and harissa, the thinking person's bacon and egg roll, or a walloping combination of braised lamb shoulder, tahini, radicchio and cucumber. Good morning. Yellow, 57 Macleay St, Potts Point, NSW, (02) 9332 2344. PAT NOURSE

BRISBANE
Mondo Organics
What does "Self Worth" look like? At this West End stayer it comes in a long glass and blends turmeric, lemon and zingy ginger with apple and celery. It's one of a raft of cool juice combos on a new weekend breakfast menu written by Mondo co-owner, Brenda Fawdon, the force behind Australia's first licensed organic restaurant, which opened back in 2000. Inspired by her recent cookbook, Wholehearted Food, the focus is on quality, locally sourced, clean produce. Stick a fork into a springy stack of buckwheat pancakes, drizzled with rapadura syrup, dotted with slow-cooked apricots and dollops of creamy fresh ricotta flecked with preserved ginger. Or pig out on a side of Gooralie bacon. You won't need to add anything to your plate of grilled chorizo from Salumi Australia, inky garlic mushrooms, wilted spinach and free-range poached eggs, and this is nitrate-free bacon from free-range porkers, and it tastes amazing. Coffee? The beans of choice here are PNG single-estate sourced from Earth Coffee and the milk is Barambah Organics. Mondo Organics, 166 Hardgrave Rd, West End, Qld, (07) 3844 1132. FIONA DONNELLY

PERTH
Sri Devi Curry House
Could 2014 be the year Indian cuisine in Australia finally goes regional? We can hope, especially if it means more dining options like this modest new curry house hanging its hat on the lighter flavours of southern India and Malaysia. Following the lead of its parent restaurant in Selangor, Malaysia, the day's dishes are served "banana leaf"-style (that is, on a banana leaf-shaped plate) and might include fried chicken, excellent fish curry thickened with okra, and cabbage seasoned with mustard seeds. While the sour rasam and rice complement the curries just fine, a side order of bread is a must. Tangy uthappam (made with ground rice and lentils like dosa, but thicker) is served with a fiery onion chutney and creamy sambar, a soupy stew with dahl. Folds of "clapped" roti emerge from the kitchen tissuey and warm: get yours as an old-school canai, enriched with egg, or as a stuffed murtabak, ideally with a sour and refreshing mango lassi to finish. Sri Devi Curry House, 313 William St, Northbridge, WA, no phone. MAX VEENHUYZEN

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


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