Healthy Eating

We're championing fresh food that packs a flavour punch, from salads and vegetable-packed bowls to grains and light desserts.

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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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Pea and ham soup

Project nights at Penfolds Magill Estate

Head chefs Scott Huggins and Emma McCaskill

Head chefs Scott Huggins and Emma McCaskill

Each Wednesday night chefs Scott Huggins and Emma McCaskill push culinary boundaries.

The kitchen gets to cuts loose each Wednesday night at Magill Estate Restaurant for its experimental Project nights. Chefs Scott Huggins and Emma McCaskill push the boundaries to present dishes that are very different to the restaurant's usual dégustation. Diners can expect the unexpected - grilled King George whiting offset by dabs of sharp lemon curd or southern calamari with bone marrow and roasted onion, or a steamed pudding of pumpkin with black garlic ice-cream.

That goes for the matched wines, too: decades-old chardonnays accompany the seafood, a 1999 pinot noir with duck braised in cabbage, and not a muscular shiraz in sight when we visited. Still, each Wednesday changes, with chefs aiming to introduce such theatre as breaking and serving salt-crusted baked fish at the table. Once the restaurant reopens on 3 August, after its winter repose, a four-course Project night set menu with snacks will cost $100, with matched wines for an additional $70 (about 60 per cent less than the usual dégustation with matched wines).

Penfolds Magill Estate, 78 Penfold Rd, Magill, SA, (08) 8301 5551, magillestaterestaurant.com

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2017 Restaurant Guide

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