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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.

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.

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.

Penfolds Magill Estate Kitchen, Adelaide preview

Emma McCaskill & Scott Huggins

Emma McCaskill & Scott Huggins

Everything's coming up Adelaide. Under the leadership of Emma McCaskill and Scott Huggins, the restaurant at Magill Estate has been a key part of the culinary push that has put South Australia back on the map for destination diners, and now the chefs are taking the wraps off Penfolds' new, more casual eatery. The menu at Magill Kitchen, says McCaskill, is guided by a fairly straightforward premise: "It's the kind of food we like to eat on our nights off."

That might mean potato and salt cod salad, local oysters, slow-roasted beef brisket with polenta and slaw, or a classic roast chicken with lemon, stuffing and roast potatoes for hungrier visitors. For kids, there could be flathead and salad or mini-cheeseburgers and, for the snacking-and-drinking crowd, the likes of pretzels with anchovy dip, pork rillettes, and a substantial selection of cheese and charcuterie. It's all set in a complex designed by Denton Corker Marshall that makes the most of the vineyard setting with indoor and outdoor seating.

The arrival of the Kitchen comes with the opening of Penfolds' new cellar door, which combines top-hole tasting facilities (wine, glasses and people who know how to work them) with a display of artefacts from both the historic winery and the larger Penfolds collection.

And on pour? A good selection of key Penfolds classics, plus a strong showing from its Cellar Reserve collection, most of them current-release vintages. And, this winery being the home to Max Schubert's grand experiment in multi-region red blending, there is of course Grange. The 2010 vintage is available by the bottle at a cool $1,000 a pop, or a mere $150 by the glass.

Word has it that Huggins and McCaskill are working with the company's winemakers to devise the perfect meal-in-a-bite complement to a glass of Australia's most famous red wine. We'll keep you updated on "Project Grange Sandwich", as it's code-named, as more news comes to hand.

Penfolds Magill Estate Kitchen, open daily 9am-5pm; cellar open daily 9am-6pm, 78 Penfold Rd, Magill, SA, (08) 8301 5943


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