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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.

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.

Where to stay, eat and drink in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Beyond Kuala Lumpur's shopping malls, Lara Dunston finds a flourishing third-wave coffee scene, tailored food tours and charming neighbourhoods.

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.

Kisume, Melbourne

Chris Lucas has flown in talent from all over the world, including Eleven Madison Park, for his bold new venture. Here’s what to expect from Kisume.

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.

How not to reserve a table at El Capricho, Spain

Illustration by Lara Porter

Illustration by Lara Porter

Fatima Bhutto hopes you'll learn from her mistakes.

I am in León, the heart of Castilian Spain, for one night only. I have braved Spanish highways (and a manual car, which I am only basically qualified to drive) to come to this Gothic city that was once the heart of the Spanish Reconquista. But I'm not here to catch up with 13th-century cathedrals or revisit my Umayyad roots. I'm here for dinner. And I am late - very late.

Just when I imagine I must have scuppered my chance to eat at El Capricho, said to be the best asador in Spain, if not the world, the phone rings. It's El Capricho.

"Where are you?" the man on the phone asks. Did I lose my table? "Oh, no. We just wondered where you were," he replies. "Are you close?"

When you are 45 minutes late to a world-renowned restaurant and they call to check up on you, this is a bad sign.

El Capricho, surrounded by an oak forest and housed in a semi-converted wine cellar, is a regular on those best-restaurant lists that seem to abound. Time, The Telegraph, and even Vogue swoon over the farm-to-table asador. Franck Ribière's documentar Steak (R)evolution includes our humble Spanish restaurant in an epiphanic moment: the steak, you are assured, is of a quality that exceeds wagyu.

I Google the restaurant, find a phone number, and reserve. There are two numbers. One doesn't answer and the other does. Of course, they have space tonight, the gentleman on the phone says, with some effervescence. In two hours, on a Thursday night? Yes, absolutely.

El Capricho sits just outside León in Jiménez Jamuz, a town populated by a thousand people. José Gordón, the head chef and owner, was trained in agriculture and has 20 years of devoted expertise. He travels across Spain searching for the best oxen (superior to beef as their muscles don't hold as much water), raises them himself, even ministering to the animals before their death - "I talk to them before the slaughter" - before quartering and cooking their meat. I read countless articles extolling this communion with nature and beast as being part of the restaurant's charm.

Gordón is famous for serving his diners at El Capricho himself, advising what cut to choose, cooking it personally and then returning to recommend exactly which morsel of meat to take as first bite. It is only natural, I assume, that he also telephones customers when they are late to dinner.

Another phone call. Are you near?

I'm on my way. When I reach a small cobbled street rather than an oak forest, it begins to dawn on me.

An elderly gentleman, wearing a bow tie and a tidy apron around his waist, lifts his arms and waves at me from across the street. "Hello!" he shouts. He is standing under the dark-green awning of a restaurant also called El Capricho. He is not the swarthy José Gordón. This is not an oak forest. And this, I realise too late, is not El Capricho.

The cheek of riding on the coat-tails of an internationally acclaimed restaurant has not, sadly, done El Capricho numero dos any favours. The owner solemnly leads me to my table and presents a menu bound in a spiral notebook. The walls are lime green and, except for a teenage girl sitting at the bar watching a football game, there is no one else here.

Of all León's tourists, only I have fallen for this most basic of ploys tonight. The gentleman's wife is roused from slumber and as the kitchen door swings open I see her watching me expectantly. Everyone, except the teenage girl, who makes sure to raise the volume of the television and periodically surf through all the sports channels, seems so happy to have the company I don't dare leave.

There are no oxen here, no milk-fed lamb cutlets, no red peppers stuffed with tuna belly, no beef-fat cookies crumbled over biscuity ice-cream swaddled with coffee jelly and white chocolate foam.

"How did you hear about us?" The owner claps his hands delightedly, his eyebrows arched, excited for the night ahead. "From the internet," I sulk.

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2017 Restaurant Guide

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