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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.

Australia's best restaurant pavlovas

Newmarket Hotel's pavlova

Newmarket Hotel's pavlova

Everyone has a favourite pavlova style. Our December issue featured a coconut pavlova with passionfruit jam and lychees (it's one of our favourite ways to make a pavlova), many New Zealanders prefer theirs with kiwi (naturally) and there's something to be said for a deconstructed version, done well. There's been an increasing number of pavs popping up on restaurant menus lately, and we're not complaining one bit. With Australia Day just around the corner, here's our pick of some of the best around the country.

SYDNEY
Ester
Ester's pavlova is cooked (and blackened) in their wood-fired oven à la roasted marshmallows on the camp fire. Team this with passionfruit curd, elderflower cream, salt-roasted macadamia nuts and dehydrated passionfruit seeds and boom - chewy-creamy goodness. Ester, 46-52 Meagher St, Chippendale, NSW, (02) 8068 8279

Icebergs Dining Room & Bar
The main drawcard at Icebergs might be the view, but their pavlova comes in at a close second. Affectionately referred to as The Iceberg, chef Monty Koludrovic serves the dish throughout the seasons in different forms. At the moment it's a tower of strawberries macerated in passionfruit syrup, pink passionfruit granita, aerated Pepe Saya crème fraîche and zingy strawberry sherbet, spliced with shards of meringue; but watch out for the tiramisu version set for autumn, and a warm take on the classic during the colder months. Icebergs Dining Room & Bar, 1 Notts Ave, Bondi Beach, NSW, (02) 9365 9000

Chiswick
Fresh orange, passionfruit and cloud-light orange sorbet combine to make the pavlova at Chiswick an easy choice when dessert swings around. Chiswick, 65 Ocean St, Woollahra, NSW, (02) 8388 8688

BRISBANE
Chester Street Bakery & Bar
Meringue, cream, curd, repeat. Brisbane's Chester Street Bakery & Bar does a classic pav, just the way we like it: double layers of everything and topped with summer berries. For those interested in a more modern interpretation, there are rumours of a chocolate version made with espresso cream and Nutella, too. Chester Street Bakery & Bar, 32A Chester St, Brisbane, Qld, (07) 3852 4130

Chur Burger
Pavlova at a burger bar? Not something you hear very often, but it works. A little more Eton-mess than trad pav, Chur's dessert sees smashed meringue with Chantilly cream, strawberry coulis and vanilla ice-cream. Chur Burger, 20 Constance St, Fortitude Valley, Qld, (07) 3319 7890

PERTH
Rockpool Bar & Grill 
Originally created by the former executive pastry chef and GT columnist Catherine Adams, Rockpool's version - or Catherine's passionfruit pavlova, as it's listed on the menu - is a permanent menu staple at all three Rockpool Bar & Grill restaurants. Light, sweet meringue comes perfectly crusted on the outside and marshmallow-fluffy on the inside, and is topped with passionfruit pulp and cream. Rockpool Bar & Grill, Crown Perth, Great Eastern Hwy, Burswood, WA, (08) 6252 1900

CANBERRA
Aubergine
Ben Willis' entry into the black (okay, grey) pav category takes the form of a smashed black sesame and star anise version. Poached apricots, apricot sorbet, black sesame custard and mango find a home among shards of the meringue. Welcome to the dark side. Aubergine, 18 Barker St, Griffith, Canberra, ACT, (02) 6260 8666

MELBOURNE
Newmarket Hotel 
This Thai-inspired pav from the Newmarket Hotel has summer vacation written all over it (the meringue is dusted with desiccated coconut before it even hits the oven). Top that with barbecued-pineapple salsa, tangy passionfruit sorbet, holy basil, lychees and shaved and more toasted coconut, and it's a dessert that's bound to end your night on a bright note. Newmarket Hotel, 34 Inkerman St, St Kilda, Vic, (03) 9537 1777

Gazi 
Gazi's pavlova is full of sweet surprises. A dramatic bowl shaped meringue hides a combination of fresh and freeze-dried raspberries, white chocolate sorbet and curd from view. Crack it open and enjoy. Opa! Gazi, 2 Exhibition St, Melbourne, Vic, (03) 9207 7444

Cutler & Co
Andrew McConnell brings us yet another inspired pavlova that smells as good as it tastes. The Cutler & Co pav, previously a well-loved staple at Golden Fields before Luxembourg took over, features poached meringue, raspberry sorbet, crème pâtissière lightened with Chantilly cream and finished with rose water. More, please. Cutler & Co, 55-57 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, Vic, (03) 9419 4888

Builders Arms Hotel 
The key to the Builders Arms pav is the berries: raspberries and boysenberries sourced from the Yarra Valley. Bring these together with almond Chantilly cream, lemon-leaf sorbet, shards of meringue and a smattering of fresh apple mint, and bingo, pav perfection. Builders Arms Hotel, 211 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, Vic, (03) 9417 7700

Pope Joan, Melbourne 
Part pavlova, part peach Melba - this Pope Joan dessert combines the best of both worlds. Seasonal, freshly blanched stone fruits are glazed in lemon verbena and combined with fresh and freeze-dried raspberries, vanilla custard, lightly torched Italian meringue and a splash of peach schnapps syrup. Pope Joan, 77-79 Nicholson St, Brunswick East, Vic, (03) 9388 8858

ADELAIDE
Swedish Tarts
You wouldn't be crazy in mistaking the Inga pavlova at Swedish Tarts for a giant ice-cream sandwich; but looks can be deceiving. This particular torte consists of mangoes and cream, sandwiched between two layers of almond meringue and dusted with toasted almond flakes. Swedish Tarts, 146 Findon Rd, Findon, SA, 0437 070 794

TASMANIA
Mudbar & Restaurant
One for the chocolate fiends. This deconstructed pavlova offers up all the individual elements of a classic pav, but turns the richness up a notch (or two) using chocolate parfait, salted peanut caramel praline dust and whisky cream. It's also topped off with a salted caramel sauce, best mopped up with a meringue paddle. Mudbar & Restaurant, 28 Seaport Blvd, Launceston, Tas, (03) 6334 5066

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