Healthy Eating

We're championing fresh food that packs a flavour punch, from salads and vegetable-packed bowls to grains and light desserts.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

Chorizo recipes

Where would Spanish cuisine be without the chorizo? This versatile smallgood lends its big flavours to South American stews, soups, and salads, not to mention the ultimate hot dog. Let the sizzling begin.

Pea and ham soup

St Michael 6003, Belle's Hot Chicken, Bar de Thé

St Michael 6003

St Michael 6003

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country this week, including St Michael 6003, Belle's Hot Chicken, and Bar de Thé.

PERTH
St Michael 6003
Jackson's - the restaurant that taught Perth the joys of dégustation dining - is a tough act to follow, but ambitious restaurateurs Scott O'Sullivan (Red Cabbage) and Todd Stuart (Petite Mort) are up for the challenge. While many of their compatriots chase the almighty casual dining dollar, O'Sullivan and Stuart stay true to their fine-dining roots as well as the site's history at St Michael 6003, a street-smart dining room specialising in intricate, technique-forward cooking. While it's still early days for the operation (some aspects of the service and aesthetics remain works in progress) the cooking of former Red Cabbage sous Adam Sayles is already in the zone. Meaty strips of bresaola paired with fermented vegetables make for an on-trend opening, as do a pair of scallops smartly accessorised with swatches of blackened corn, spinach purée and a tagliatelle-like squiggle of shaved squid. It's a promising start indeed and proof that fine dining is very much alive out west. St Michael 6003, 483 Beaufort St, Highgate, WA, (08) 9328 1177. MAX VEENHUYZEN

MELBOURNE
Belle's Hot Chicken
Clearly we've not yet reached the fried chicken saturation point. In fact, the way the local fried chicken scene is fragmenting, not just on nationality (Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese, American) but also across US state lines (Kentucky, Louisiana, Alabama), there looks to be plenty of life in the old bird yet. Belle's Hot Chicken, the latest addition to the scene, welcomes Tennessee to the Melbourne fold. It also brings a couple of chefs - Aaron Turner and Morgan McGlone - better known for their fine-dining prowess and the rarefied experience shown in the care and attention paid to the well-sourced fowl. The menu is refreshingly straightforward. You pick a combo of dark meat, wings or tenders, then choose your chilli heat level from a five-point scale starting at Mild and moving on up to Really F-ing Hot. They mean it, too. Even Hot (one up from Mild) will bring sweat to the brow but the brilliant textural crunch of the batter, the juiciness of the chicken and the array of sides - everything from a pretty good macaroni cheese to a ripper potato salad and excellent house-fermented pickles - is well worth the eye-watering and lunging for tinnies of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Being Gertrude Street, there's natural wine and a vegetarian option, too, but it's best just to pull yourself together and stick with the chicken and beer. Belle's Hot Chicken, 150 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, Vic, (03) 9077 0788. MICHAEL HARDEN

SYDNEY
Bar de Thé
With credits for the way the room smells on its carte ("scents by Maison Balzac"), backing from the Cîroc Collective (whatever that is), and the offer of Martinis both kale-infused and gold leaf-adorned (for a preposterous $100 no less), Bar de Thé and its restaurant counterpart, Salon de Thé, seem all but made for mockery. But there's a bit of substance here. Icebergs' Maurice Terzini is involved, and there's the offer of good, strong stirred cocktails like the mighty Boulevardier alongside the flowery vodka drinks, and, as misguided as the made-up French-Vietnamese-ish menu may appear (chips with green tea aïoli? "oak-roasted" calamari with organic brown rice and lotus seeds?), the flavours are much more fully realised than the concept. Salon de Thé and Bar de Thé, upstairs, 225a Victoria St, Darlinghurst, NSW, (02) 8958 3002. 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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