The February issue

Our clean eating issue is out now, packed with super lunch bowls, gluten-free desserts and more - including our cruising special, covering all luxury on the seas.

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Australia's best rieslings

We’re spoilt for variety – and value – in Australia when it comes to good riesling. Max Allen picks the top 20 from a fine crop.

Fig recipes

Figs. We can't get enough of them. Here are a few sweet and savoury ways to add them to your summer spread.

Top Australian chefs to follow on Instagram in 2017

A lot has changed since we first published our pick of the best chefs to follow on Instagram (way back in the dark ages of 2013). Here’s who we’re double-tapping on the photo-sharing app right now.

Curtis Stone's strawberry, elderflower and brioche summer puddings

"Think of this dessert as a deconstructed version of a summer pudding, with thinly sliced strawberries macerated in elderflower liqueur and layered between slices of brioche," says Stone. "A dollop of whipped cream on top is a cooling counterpoint to the floral flavours."

Most popular recipes summer 2017

Counting down from 20, here are this summer's most-loved recipes.

Christine Manfield recipes

As the '90s dawned, darling chefs were pushing the boundaries of cooking in this country. A young Christine Manfield, just starting out at this heady time, soon became part of the generation that redefined modern Australian cuisine. She shares some of her timeless signatures from the era.

Chorizo hotdogs with chimichurri and smoky red relish

A hotdog is all about the condiments. Here, choose between a smoky red capsicum relish or the bright flavours of chimichurri, or go for a bit of both.

Sleep in a Grampians olive grove this autumn

Under Sky are popping up with a luxe camping hotel experience at Mount Zero Olives this April.

Alpha to open Beta, a striking new upstairs bar and eatery

Alpha

Alpha

Here's an argument for making plan B your first choice: Sydney's Alpha is opening Beta Bar, and it's far from a second-string offering.

The new complement to the CBD's favourite modern Greek eatery, which opens on the floor above the restaurant-proper in June, is all about mezze and cocktails.   

"We're taking that old principle of a Greek mezze bar - similar to how tapas work where they bring you a small plate with your drink," says chef Peter Conistis, "and making it modern."

That could mean red mullet grilled on lemon leaves with spanakorizo rice and green-almond "saltsa" with a Dry Tai (gin, ginger, Campari and lime), or Conistis's favourite: feta custard and duck-skin crisps with a Dirty Greek Martini (vodka, cucumber and tomato tea, French vermouth and crushed Volos olives).

Alpha chef James Roberts will be on the grill, while the restaurant's bar manager of the past two and a half years, Nathan Cannon, will wrangle the drinks. 

"Alpha-Beta" might sound a bit Animal House, but the design will be anything but frat-boy. Paul Papadopoulos of creative studio DS17, who also designed the original restaurant, has retained the original honeycomb ceiling, arches and brickwork, juxtaposing them with old leather furnishings, cane and fretwork-backed chairs, striking Aegean-blue doors and brass finishes. "He's sourced some beautiful '50s gold-plated glassware from an old hotel in New York, too," says Conistis. "It's all a bit dark and luxe." 

The upstairs space will include a separate private dining room and a glass-encased courtyard featuring a 10-person chef's table and a sunken fire-pit for spit-roasting meats. 

"It's not like Alpha," says Conistis. "It's a new take on mezze, a step up, and it's very much its own beast."

Beta Bar, level 1, 238 Castlereagh St, Sydney, NSW, (02) 9098 1111, hellenicclub.net.au/about/beta

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