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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.

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.

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.

Grand Gelinaz Shuffle, Orana, Adelaide

Mehmet Gürs at Orana

Mehmet Gürs at Orana

Raw kingfish with green ants and finger limes is unlike anything that chef Mehmet Gürs cooks at Mikla, his restaurant in Istanbul, yet it led a sequence of eight ambitious dishes he served at Orana in Adelaide for the Grand Gelinaz Shuffle last night. But then, that's the magic of the Shuffle. This international chef exchange had 37 chefs secretly planted in other restaurants for five days devising new menus for a globally orchestrated showcase dinner. Australian diners snapped up tickets in May for dinner at the two local participants, Orana in Adelaide and Attica in Melbourne, not knowing whether they'd get Alain Ducasse, Alex Atala, René Redzepi or David Thompson. Attica got Tokyo chef Yoshihiro Narisawa, and Adelaide got Gürs, champion of contemporary Turkish cooking.

Gürs enthusiastically embraced Orana's pantry of local indigenous ingredients, especially after visiting a marron farm and a specialist indigenous nursery. His inspiration took shape in dishes such as kangaroo tail in manti (aka Turkey's favourite dumpling) with smoked labne and kutjera sauce. Diners were also wowed by marron tail in macadamia milk infused with mountain pepper.

"There's a lot I will take home - mainly ideas and inspiration from how the Orana kitchen operates," says Gürs. "This was hardcore - lots of pressure to deliver, but also lots of excitement." Orana's Jock Zonfrillo, meanwhile, was at David Kinch's Manresa in California, where he served geoduck clam, kombucha and broccoli, and a version of Kinch's signature of abalone with abalone custard and seaweed.

A grand experiment, and one we'd gladly embrace a second time around.

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