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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.

Berardo's Noosa closes

Noosa is still reeling from the shock closure of Berardo's Restaurant & Bar, one of Queensland's best fine diners.

The 16-year-old venue pulled down the shutters for the final time on Hasting St on Friday, just 11 days after the conclusion of the annual Noosa International Food and Wine Festival.

Noosa Food & Wine Events Pty Ltd, the parent company trading as Berardo's Restaurant & Bar and the Noosa International Food and Wine Festival, has been placed in voluntary administration.

Restaurateur Jim Berardo said the move was swift and unexpected but necessary to prevent the business from trading while insolvent.

"We're just gutted we had to do things the way we did, but we had no choice.

"We were not going to renew the lease [for Berardo's Restaurant & Bar] in September when the lease expired, but the Food and Wine Festival caught us by surprise on a couple of fronts - prices were going up in leaps and bounds for everything but you can't charge any more. It's just like restaurants; prices can't go up."

Ticket sales for festival special events were up on last year but bad weather on the weekend severely affected local attendance and both gate ticket sales and spending were down, he said.

"People spend less on food and wine when it rains because they're ducking for cover. It was a double whammy, with costs being higher than expected. It costs $2.5 million to stage an event like NIFW."

Despite the setbacks, he says he's confident that with the assistance of key partners and local and state government a restructured Noosa International Food and Wine Festival will continue next year.

"We will have to work really hard to make the festival happen in 2016 but I've heard from all the sponsors and they are very supportive. We received more than 800 messages and phone calls over the weekend."

Berardo says he's working through paperwork with the administrators to deal with creditors, but the numbers are still being processed.

"You're dealing with a personal loss as well as the consequences for other people - you just want to crawl into a hole, but you can't. And I'm not going to," he says. "I've never not paid anyone - perhaps I've been a slow payer sometimes - but never not paying and I'd never walk away. I've got to see it through."

Berardo's on the Beach is unaffected and continues to trade as normal.

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