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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.

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.


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.

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.

Hot Plate: Face2Face Noodles, Sydney

Spicy Sichuan broth noodles and Chinese sausage

Spicy Sichuan broth noodles and Chinese sausage

Chinatown's new spicy Chongqing-styled noodle bar is complete with Sichuan broths and free noodle refills.

The turn of the season and the arrival of genuinely cooler weather means our thoughts turn, naturally, not to fireplaces and cocoa, mulled wine and the State of Origin, but spicy noodles. And there's no spicy noodle we want more right now than the mian tiao at Face2Face, a new arrival to Dixon House, one of the more rough-and-tumble basement food halls in Sydney's Chinatown.

The specialty here is noodle soups done in the style of Chongqing, the city of 30 million that seceded from Sichuan province to become a province in its own right in 1997. The noodles are made in-house with wheat, cut fine, and offered in three ways: dry, in a clear chicken stock, or, the main event, in a spicy Sichuan broth.

The dry noodles are very good even in their plainest form, dressed (relatively) simply with preserved vegetables, bok choy, spring onions, coriander, chilli, sesame and peanuts. The soups are similarly complete, roiling with chilli oil and Sichuan pepper, but there is much to be said for the choice of toppings: five-spice pork ribs, firm nubs of braised beef, gooey beef tendon, barnyardy braised pork intestines, bouncy sliced chicken giblets with pickles, or the chickpeas and minced pork, an option that has eluded us thus far because (a) it's made in such small quantities, (b) is so popular, or (c) both.

(Robust appetites take note: we've not found it necessary yet but an extra serve of noodles is free for the asking when you eat in-house.)

Accessories include soy eggs for $1.50, extra greens for $1 and some of the sides are also very much worth investigating, not least the fresh smoky pork sausage, even fizzier with Sichuan pepper than the soups. Face2Face does a brisk trade, too, in cold poached chicken feet, boxed-up with green chillies to go.

A word of warning: because the noodles are produced fresh each day, the kitchen can get overwhelmed, and often sells out of the signatures mid-service. Get in early to make the most of it.

Face2Face Noodles, Dixon House food court, Little Hay St (between Dixon and Sussex sts), Sydney, NSW.

Signature Collection

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2017 Restaurant Guide

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