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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.

Lola's Pergola, The Standard, The Rogue Rennard, Kim Restaurant

Lola's Pergola, Adelaide

Lola's Pergola, Adelaide

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country this week including Lola's Pergola, The Standard, The Rogue Rennard, and Kim Restaurant.

ADELAIDE
Lola's Pergola
The Torrens River pop-up venue serving as the nightclub/after-hours nerve centre of the Adelaide Festival (until 16 March) not only wows big crowds with its extravagant, oversized, backyard party setting, but also with the sensational barbecue provided by the Happy Motel team of Jordan Jeavons, Andy Nowell and Duncan Welgemoed. Tickets to their themed dégustation dinners have sold out, but clubbing crowds under the big pergola are still enjoying their food cooked on a barbecue fashioned from a Hills Hoist. Kranskies are the big hit: pork sausages with chilli and fennel, hung all day in the on-site smokehouse (a converted garden shed), then grilled on the Hoist barbecue. These are being stuffed into crisp baps and topped with salsa verde - the perfect late-night snack for revellers. Demand has created an express lane for serving the snags, while others queue for a wider selection of barbecued meats. Lola's Pergola, Torrens River frontage (off North Tce), Adelaide, SA. Open nightly from 6pm. DAVID SLY

HOBART
The Standard
Yeah, yeah, yeah, another day, another burger. But this happens to be a very good burger, served in a slightly bizarre loading dock setting. What's more, in addition to The Standard burger (nicely proportioned, flavoursome beef patty, tomato, lettuce, pickles, mayo and properly melted cheese on a good soft, steamy bun), there's also an outstanding fried chicken burger. One of the best we've seen anywhere in the country, in fact. The shoestring chips are a cut above and the thickshakes (in Oreo or Butterfinger flavours) are so thick with ice-cream you can write your name in them, so they double nicely as dessert. Put together by the team from Pilgrim Coffee (the burgers are sold out the back of the Argyle Street café), it's a class act. Or as classy as an act can be using milk crates for furniture in a laneway fringed by chain-link fence. To say the site is exposed is something of an understatement. On our last visit, someone asked the (very friendly) young woman on the counter how they coped with inclement weather. "Hasn't rained yet," she replied. "We'll find out when it does." The Standard, Hudson Lane, Liverpool St, Hobart, Tas, (03) 6234 1999. PAT NOURSE

BRISBANE
The Rogue Rennard
Winding down at the close of a working week is all very well, but what to do at the heel end of a hectic weekend? How about a Sunday Wine Down, at Paddington's Rogue Rennard? This quirky den kicked off as a café a couple of years ago serving an excellent brew by roaster Cup Coffee. Last spring, it became a bar-restaurant, and a fortnight ago added a hassle-free Sunday evening session to the menu. The leafy front courtyard, with its door-top trestle tables and high bar is a soothing spot for a sundowner. The menu is perfect for sharing with a drink in hand. Order veal sweetbreads with punchy green peppercorn mustard and the house-made baguette with cultured butter; or figs served warm with melted Brillat-Savarin and a splash of vincotto. A bucket of craft beer (a lucky-dip of four bottles) is $25, or there's a clipped list of cocktails and wine priced to ease you back into Monday, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. The Rogue Rennard, 106A Latrobe Tce, Paddington, Brisbane, Qld, (07) 3151 0093. FIONA DONNELLY

SYDNEY
Kim Restaurant
Moon Park knocked off two of the most popular name options for Korean restaurants in one fell swoop, but in naming their new eatery Kim, Tae Kyu "TK" Lee and David Ralph may have gone one better. Both chefs have worked at Quay; Ralph is best known for his involvement in William Street chocolatier Kakawa, while Lee has also done time at Ms G's. There are no kimchi snow eggs or bo ssäm bánh mi baguettes on the menu, though, with the pair treading a (broadly) classical line with their flavours. Fried chicken fanatics will find much to like with the powerfully crunchy TKFC, while the loose, rustic texture of the haemul pajeon, an omelette-pancake packed with squid and prawns, holds plenty of appeal. So far the desserts don't knock socks off, but the chocolates are (perhaps unsurprisingly) top-notch. Kim Restaurant, 24-30 Springfield Ave (enter via Llankelly Place), Potts Point, NSW, (02) 9357 4578. PAT NOURSE

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


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