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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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

Petition, Perth

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country right now: Petition, Perth.

Perth's past meets its present at the State Buildings, the new identity of the rebooted and restored Treasury buildings. While the plan is to open the precinct in stages - Como The Treasury, Australia's first Como hotel, begins welcoming guests this week while David Thompson's equally anticipated Long Chim opens next month - one of its first public offerings is Petition, a smart-casual trio encompassing restaurant, well-stocked enoteca and craft-beer bar.

While each venue sports its own menu, the eating is best at the airy dining room where chef Jesse Blake and his brigade operate. Informed by his time at Cumulus Inc (well-travelled eaters might notice the presence of "comestibles" on the menu), Blake's opening dishes are notable for their subtle inventiveness. Tender curls of squid and an ink-stained buckwheat risotto is a smart pairing, while beef tartare gets lightened with thickly cut radish, sesame seeds and a dab of sour cream. Then there's the kitchen's winning pea soup remix - a comforting combo starring braised turnips, peas, ham and addictively savoury parmesan crumbs.

Coupled with bright-eyed service and nifty wine choices, Petition makes a fine introduction to the city's newest food and drink emporium.

Petition, 28 Barrack St (cnr Barrack St & St Georges Tce), Perth, WA, (08) 6168 7771. Open Mon-Fri 7am-midnight, Sat-Sun 8am-midnight.

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