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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.

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.

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.

O Tama Carey's fried eggs with seeni sambol, coconut and turmeric

"I first cooked a version of this dish - inspired by the excellent deep-fried egg dish at Billy Kwong - while working at a restaurant in Sri Lanka," says O Tama Carey. "The lattice-like eggs are doused in a creamy turmeric curry sauce and topped with seeni sambol, a sweet-spiced caramelised onion relish. This dish is equally perfect for an indulgent breakfast as it is served as part of a larger meal." The recipe for the seeni sambol makes more than you need, but to get the right balance of spices you need to make at least this much. It keeps refrigerated for up to three weeks; use as an onion relish. The curry sauce can be made a day or two ahead.

Les Bubbles, Brisbane

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country right now: Les Bubbles, Brisbane.

Red leather booths, black and white tiles underfoot, Laguiole knives and monogrammed plates on the brass-trimmed tables - so Frenchy, so chic, so far. But Damian Griffiths' new Brisbane offering not only nails the Paris steakhouse aesthetic, it adds a quirky local edge. A glance around this former massage parlour - a pivotal site in an inquiry into police corruption in the 1980s - reveals the venture is as much about having a laugh as it is about Gallic fare. Red neon above the bar informs diners the space is no longer operating as a brothel, while tongue-in-cheek oils include portraits of former Queensland premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen, jailed former police commissioner Terry Lewis, and one of Griffiths as Escoffier. If that doesn't put you off your dinner, choosing is easy. There are no entrées and just one main course, a nicely charry, juicy grass-fed entrecôte with a bottomless serve of frites and your pick from a trio of (rather clunky) retro sauces: Café de Paris, green peppercorn and Cognac, or Béarnaise. Add a leaf salad with radish and walnut, baguettes and French butter and it's a stonking deal at $29.90. The reasonably priced wine list sidesteps the mundane, with a sprinkling of French offerings plus bottles from Little Wick, Griffths' new urban winery.

Les Bubbles, 144 Wickham St, Fortitude Valley, Qld, (07) 3251 6555

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