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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. 

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

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.

Noma Australians: team leader Katherine Bont

Noma chef René Redzepi has brought his entire team to Australia for their 10-week Sydney residency at Barangaroo and four of the key members are Australian. We caught up with team leader Katherine Bont to talk days off, catching up with family and friends, and showing the folks from Copenhagen a good time.

Born in…
Sydney.

Member of the Noma family since…
April 2012.

How did you end up at Noma?
I was living in Hokkaido, Japan, and it was time for a change. I actually responded to a tweet from René (Redzepi, chef/co-owner), and a week later flew over to meet the team and check out the restaurant. It went well. Six weeks later I moved my life to Copenhagen.

What's your favourite Noma dish and why?
The first time I dined at Noma in 2012 I had a dish of sliced fresh chestnuts, lumpfish roe and a butter sauce. The simplicity of this dish, together with the luxuriousness of the ingredients and the varying textures, is something I'll always remember.

What are you looking forward to most?
I've been travelling and living overseas for 10 years, so I'm really looking forward to being back in Australia for some months. I've already discovered and learnt more about Australian native products in the last year talking with the R&D team after their research trips to Australia than I knew myself as an Australian. I look forward to building on this, and discovering further the vastness of our land and its ingredients. I'm also very excited to see what the kitchen will be doing with the ingredients they've found on their travels.

How different is the Sydney set-up to what goes on in Copenhagen?
It's quite different, but also bears a lot of similarities as well. Ultimately what brings it all together, though, is the team. I hope Sydney can experience this journey with us, and have fun with it! Just the idea that we've relocated the team to the other side of the world, and are working with ingredients so unfamiliar to us… I hope Sydney can take from that an unafraid attitude. I also feel like we'll be bringing a lot of this trip home with us to Copenhagen as well.

What's your fondest memory of the Noma Australia journey so far?
The whole 12 months and the anticipation leading up to it has been magical. But being invited by the Australian Ambassador to a farewell reception with the Noma team would be the most memorable so far.

What will you do on your days off?
I want to visit Taronga Zoo, swim in the ocean, take a trip out to Cabramatta (Vietnamese heaven), catch up with old friends and colleagues, as well as the new ones we're bound to make along the way.

Where will you eat when you're not working?
Yum cha on Sundays, late nights at Golden Century or Chat Thai, Chinatown food courts (specifically Sussex and Dixon streets), fish 'n' chips on the water, Ester, Acme, Automata, Mary's, Porteño, Belles Hot Chicken... I have a big list!

And for a drink?
I love Bulletin Place and always love to start an evening off with a negroni.

What are your expectations for Noma Australia?
I hope that not only the restaurant, but the team members individually, take away from this a whole new wealth of ideas and inspiration and that everyone enjoys the process and journey of discovery while here.

What's your favourite Australian flavour or ingredient?
Lamingtons are one of my all-time favourites. I've made them a couple of times for the team in Copenhagen on Australia Day and it would be a dream to see a Noma recreation of that.

What do you crave when you're away?
Of all the places in the world I have lived in the past 10 years, nowhere compares to the variety of food we have in Australia, and I miss having that available. Specifically, fish 'n' chips with the family sitting by the water and Bundaberg ginger beer.

Which three things are on your must-do list before you leave?
Having some lazy Sunday brunches, a day at the beach with lunch at The Kiosk, and as much family time as possible.

Fast-forward to the 10-week residency coming to an end. How will you celebrate with the Noma crew?
I'd imagine a big barbecue together by the water would be ideal, but a gathering together somewhere like Golden Century late at night after the last service would be great, too.

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