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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.

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.

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.

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.

Our favourite plates of the month - March, 2016

Pyengana Cheddar Pie, Ester

Pyengana Cheddar Pie, Ester

CHEDDAR PIE, ESTER, SYDNEY
There are no two words better strung together than "cheese" and "pie". There's also no better cheese pie right now than the new Pyengana cheddar number at Ester. Salty, garlicky and charred and molten from a blast in the wood-fired oven, it's garnished with softly purple society garlic flowers for the win.
Ester, 46-52 Meagher St, Chippendale, NSW, (02) 8068 8279
SOPHIE McCOMAS 

CRAB RISOTTO, LOCALE, NOOSA
How do you improve a creamy Queensland sand crab risotto? Use organic carnaroli rice for al dente bite, sea-urchin butter and bottarga for salty savouriness and lemon for freshness. Oh, and a glass of Howard Park Flint Rock chardonnay won't hurt, either. Thanks, Locale.
Locale Noosa, 62 Hastings St, Noosa Heads, Qld, (07) 5447 5111
FIONA DONNELLY 

DTOM YUM OF CHICKEN, LONG CHIM, PERTH
It's always a revelation when David Thompson introduces us to long-lost Thai recipes but his treatment of the cuisine's mainstays are just as memorable. Bright, potent and loaded with no small amount of lime, lemongrass and chicken's feet, this hot and sour soup is anything but generic.
Long Chim, basement, Barrack St & St Georges Tce, Perth, (08) 6168 7775
MAX VEENHUYZEN

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