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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Recipes by Christine Manfield
21.02.2017

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.

Cirrus, Sydney review
20.02.2017

Cirrus moves the Bentley team down to the water and into more lighthearted territory without sacrificing polish, writes Pat Nourse.

How to grow rocket
20.02.2017

A vegetable patch without rocket lacks a great staple, according to Mat Pember. The perennial performer is a leaf for all seasons.

50BestTalks brings World’s best chefs to Sydney and Melbourne
16.02.2017

Massimo Bottura and more are coming to the Sydney Opera House.

Toby Wilson, Sean McManus and Jon Kennedy to open Bad Hombres
16.02.2017

Expect Mexican-Asian flavours and an all-natural wine list from two of Sydney’s edgier operators.

Local Knowledge: Moscow
16.02.2017

Director of Shakespeare theatre company Cheek by Jowl Declan Donnellan walks us through the essential sights and his favourite cafes and restaurants of his hometown.

On the Pass: Danielle Rensonnet
16.02.2017

Bellota chef Danielle Rensonnet talks us through the current menu at the restaurant and her favourite summer ingredients.

Melbourne's Tomato Festival is back in 2017
15.02.2017

Returning for another year, Melbourne’s Tomato Festival is ripe with cooking demonstrations, talks, and produce stalls dedicated to plump produce.

Hot Plate: Nora, Melbourne

Nora's

Nora's "Sorry I'm Crabby Today"

Nora re-opens as a dégustation restaurant, balancing out-there sensibilities with an exciting yet un-pretentious menu.

Nora's menu reads like the set list of a slam poet: Daft Punk is Playing in My Mouth, 12am In the Fridge, Sorry I'm Crabby Today, Too Many Italians and Only One Asian, Tagliatelle of Oyster Not Oyster.

You don't actually get a printed menu until after you've finished your $95 dégustation either. So when one of the 12 or so dishes lands and your waiter announces: "Slowly But Surely", how are you supposed to know that the beautiful looking emerald green granita is made from a couple of different types of coriander, that the black discs are radish that's been pickled for more than a year, and that the tiny crumbs are fried garlic?

By the time Slowly But Surely rolls around, a palate-cleanser marking the border between sweet and savoury dishes, you'll already understand that Nora has its own set of rules. You'll have eaten green papaya cut to look like pasta that's tossed with a "pesto" of roasted cashew nuts and sator (aka stinky beans) and school prawns (Too Many Italians and Only One Asian), or a marinated chicken heart sitting in a pastry oyster shell topped with a sweet fish sauce and frozen pomelo (Oyster Not Oyster).

Those who ate at Nora when it was a café, or who attended one of their Friday night Small Dinner Club events will already have an idea about how owners Sarin Rojanametin and Jean Thamthanakorn roll. But this permanent dinner incarnation should surprise even the forewarned. Rojanametin, a self-taught cook, offers flavours that are original and experimental, with humour and creativity front and centre. But despite a million warning bells signalling overreach and pretentiousness, the quality of the food is never sacrificed in the name of simply being "out there".

The dishes eat like discovery. Service is charming and efficient. The drinks list, from sommelier Kentaro Emoto, takes its cues from the food, not surprisingly favouring the natural end of the spectrum. There's also a juice matching that's revelatory in its ability to balance the savoury with the sweet.

Not everybody will love Nora, especially those who crave volume, but those that love it will love it a lot.

Nora, 156 Elgin St, Carlton, Vic, (03) 9041 8644, noramelbourne.com; open Thu-Mon for two sittings at 6.15pm and 8.45pm.

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2017 Restaurant Guide

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