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Top 35 recipes of 2016

2016 was all about slow-roasting, fresh pasta and comfort food. These are the recipes you clicked on most this year, counting back to number one.

Decadent chocolate dessert recipes for Christmas

13 of our most decadent chocolate recipes to indulge guests with this Christmas.

Chilled recipes for summer

When the mercury is rising, step away from the oven. These recipes are either raw, chilled or frozen and will cool you down in a snap.

Best travel destinations in 2017

We're thinking big for travelling in 2017 - and so should you. Will we see you sunrise at Java's 9th-century Borobudur Buddhist temple, across the table at Reykjavik's newest restaurants or swimming side-by-side with humpback whales off Western Australia's coast?

Christmas vegetarian recipes

The versatility of vegetarian dishes means they can be served alongside meat and seafood, or enjoyed simply as they are. With Christmas just around the corner, we’ve put together some of our favourite vegetarian recipes to appease both herbivores and carnivores alike.

What the GT team is cooking on Christmas Day

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Summer feta recipes

Whether in a fresh salad or seasonal seafood dish, feta's creamy tang can be used to add interest to a variety of summer dishes.

Christmas ham recipes

The centrepiece of any Christmas feast, hams can be glazed with many ingredients. Here are our favourite combinations.

Hot Plates: Higher Ground, Melbourne

Higher Ground cafe in Melbourne's CBD

Higher Ground cafe in Melbourne's CBD

The line between café and restaurant is blurred at the CBD’s Higher Ground.

Involuntary, uncool gawking around is a given for first-timers at Higher Ground. With its 15-metre ceilings, bank of Playschool-on-steroids arched windows and 160-seat capacity over mezzanine and split levels, the former power station space is seriously, consciously impressive. Even more amazing is that the cavernous proportions feel intimate with noise levels hovering at a pleasant cathedral-like burble.

Initial positive feelings towards Higher Ground come in part from the flush of success at finally gaining access - there's often a person-with-a-clipboard-organised wait during the day ranging from 15 minutes on a Tuesday morning to nearly two hours at peak brunch on Sundays. But the good vibes are mostly down to being looked after by a team that seriously knows their café stuff.

This behemoth counts Kettle Black and Top Paddock as siblings and the family resemblance is marked. The coffee (from three machines, one cleverly stationed outside for takeaway customers and queuers) is solid with a menu that runs to filter, batch brew and several single origin options, complete with tasting notes. Service is calm, efficient and friendly, and the multiple seating options - communal tables, bar and lounge seating, banquette-like couches - all strike a distinct, clean-cut, Scandinavian-Japanese pose.

But the clearest similarity is with the café-meets-restaurant approach to the food. Clearly plated with Instagram in mind, it's good looking but it's good eating too. A lamb sausage roll arrives as a golden pastry-encircled slice of deliciously seasoned lamb mince sharing a plate with house-pickled cucumbers and aïoli flecked with tiny pieces of anchovy. Roasted and pickled mushrooms are dumped on soft, pale yellow polenta, and textured with hazelnut and sourdough crumbs. There's a delicate dish of cured kingfish served with seaweed and ponzu, a hefty bacon sandwich with brown sauce, and pretty sweet things that read like breakfast (ricotta hotcakes with maple syrup, seeds and grains, fruit and flowers) and look like dessert.

The something-for-everybody approach here is confident, measured and restrained so that it avoids looking overly eager or obsequious. It's a mature approach that bodes well for Higher Ground's longevity beyond the initial flush of being the latest greatest thing.

Higher Ground, open Mon-Wed 7am-4pm, Thu-Fri 7am-11pm, Sat 8am-11pm, Sun 8am-4pm, 650 Little Bourke St, Melbourne, (03) 8899 6219

highergroundmelbourne.com.au 

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