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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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

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.

Sydney restaurants for visitors

The Bridge Room

The Bridge Room

Planning a trip to Sydney? Here's our guide to some of the best dining experiences the Emerald City has to offer.

Sydney is a city of many virtues: sunny weather, a sparkling coastline and an all-round easy-going vibe. It's no less fortunate in the food and drink department, either, particularly when it comes to breezy beachside eateries, benchmark-setting fine-diners, excellent Asian, superb seafood, brag-worthy breakfasts and winning Australian wine - hey, it's even catching up to Melbourne on the coffee front.

You could spend months, or indeed years, trying to eat your way through Sydney's best breakfasts, lunches and dinners. But if you've only got the luxury of a couple of days, here's our guide to some of the best (and most quintessentially "Sydney") dining experiences the Emerald City has to offer.

Fine-diners with a difference

The Bridge Room
Whatever your business, be it a power lunch, a pre-theatre supper or a special-occasion meal, The Bridge Room is a fine destination for it. The Scandi-inspired room, just up the hill from the harbour in the heart of the CBD, is light-filled and refined - a perfect match to chef Ross Lusted's clean, bright food. Go for the white-cut chicken served in its broth with organic red rice, the Murray cod with black vinegar, pickled bamboo, sprouts and ginger and the charred and smoky offerings from the robata grill. The Bridge Room, 44 Bridge St, Sydney, (02) 9247 7000

Rockpool

Rockpool has been the darling of Sydney's fine-dining world for 25 years. Today, it sings even louder from its new CBD digs on Bridge Street, where head chef Phil Wood weaves his magic through the likes of Moreton Bay bug congee and laurel-smoked eight-treasure quail in a Sichuan broth, with world-class wines and pin-sharp service to boot. Rockpool, 11 Bridge St, Sydney, (02) 9252 1888

Sixpenny

Go for Sunday lunch. We can assure you that Dan Puskas and James Parry's modern, produce-driven food (much of which comes from their farm and restaurant garden) will go down smoothly. Take crab with shavings of macadamia and hints of chamomile, for example, or a surprising dessert of pumpkin cooked in mead with caramelised white chocolate and rice ice-cream. Pair it with personable service, interesting wines and an overall chilled-out vibe and you've got the perfect way to wrap up the weekend. Sixpenny, 83 Percival Rd, Stanmore, (02) 9572 6666

Momofuku Seiobo
Don't be thrown by the online bookings system. Sure, it's a little nerve-wracking (countdown timer, we're looking at you) but it's well worth the trouble for a taste of David Chang and Ben Greeno's fun but nonetheless sophisticated food. Can't make it to the dining room? Pay a visit to the bar for winning wines and next-level snacks. Momofuku Seiobo, The Star, 80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont, no phone

Nomad

Places to drink Australian wine
Nomad

Sure, you could happily spend your time in Sydney drinking imported wines, or you could dive head-first into the local gear at Nomad, where the entire list is composed of true-blue Aussie juice. Chef Nathan Sasi's Moorish-accented cuisine adds to the fun, bringing the likes of broccolini with mojama, chilli and garlic, barbecued garfish with fennel and harissa, and house-made charcuterie to the table. Nomad, 16 Foster St, Surry Hills, (02) 9280 3395

Bentley

There's no better person to point you in the direction of a top Aussie drop than Nick Hildebrandt. His colossal list at Bentley puts the spotlight on some of the nation's most interesting producers, in one of the city's sharpest new rooms. Put Brent Savage's innovative menu, which spans the likes of pea, buttermilk and spanner crab soup, and organic chicken with rye and shimeji mushrooms, into the picture and you have yourself a pretty grand night on the town. Bentley, 27 O'Connell St, Sydney, (02) 8214 0505

Wine Library

For more Australian wines and good times head to Wine Library. The natural and biodynamic-leaning list offers Old World classics cheek by jowl with the latest from up-and-coming local and international appellations, complemented by a wine-friendly all-day grazing menu. Wine Library, 18 Oxford St, Woollahra, (02) 9360 5686

Rockpool Bar & Grill

While it doesn't match the dining room in terms of glamour and grandeur, the bar at Rockpool Bar & Grill is just as exciting in the drinks and snacks department. Get stuck into the Australian wine offerings from their colossal cellar and don't skip the bar burger - it's still one of the finest in town. Rockpool Bar & Grill, 66 Hunter St, Sydney, (02) 8078 1900

Only in Sydney

Porteño
Porteño's your place for Argentine-accented meat-fuelled fun. The goods from the charcoal grill and the asado pit are the main draw, among them the eight-hour lamb and pork and the equally tasty wagyu skirt. There's rocking talent on the floor, in the kitchen and behind the bar, but be warned: the walk-in policy for groups under five means that lines start brewing early so be prepared for a wait. The proteins will pay off, we promise. Porteño, 358 Cleveland St, Surry Hills, (02) 8399 1440

Café Paci

Pasi Petanen's creative, casual and affordable cooking at Café Paci has been the talk of the town since it popped up in the old Café Pacifico site last year. It's only around until January 2015, though, so make sure you get in quick for a taste of blue swimmer crab with sorrel and plum, Angus tartare with garlic, tomato, parmesan and oregano, and carrot sorbet with yoghurt mousse and liquorice cake. Café Paci, 95 Riley St, Darlinghurst, (02) 9368 7000

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