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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.

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.

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.

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.

Sydney's Best Thai

The argument: Sydney is the best place to eat Thai outside Asia. The evidence: the pioneering Spice I Am (90 Wentworth Ave, Surry Hills, 02 9280 0928) and its spin-offs, the Isaan House (202 Elizabeth St, Surry Hills, 02 9280 0364), and, upstairs at the same site, the more pan-Asian Surry Hills Eating House. Then there's Chat Thai (our picks are its Thaitown HQ at 20 Campbell St, Sydney, 02 9221 1808, and the glossier Westfield branch; Level 6, Westfield Sydney, Cnr Pitt & Market Sts, Sydney, 02 9221 0600), and its newer offshoots, Assámm (Shop 17, Lower Ground Floor, Queen Victoria Building, Sydney, 02 9261 0204) and Boon Café (1/425 Pitt St, Sydney, 02 9281 2114). Sailors Thai (106 George St, The Rocks, 02 9251 2466) and Longrain (85 Commonwealth St, Surry Hills, 02 9280 2888) offer fine Thai eats in a full-service setting. North of the bridge it's all about the buzzy Khao Pla (7/370-374 Victoria Ave, Chatswood, 02 9412 4978) and its new food-court branch Chum Tang (Shop 5, Podium Level, Chatswood Interchange, 438 Victoria Ave, Chatswood, 02 9419 2872). For serious heat, head back to Chinatown for southern Thai specialist Caysorn (1/8 Quay St, Sydney, 02 9211 5749).

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