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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. 

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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

Moon Park to open Paper Bird in Potts Point

No, it’s not a pop-up. The team behind Sydney’s Moon Park is back with an all-day east-Asian eatery.

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.

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.

Bistro Guillaume joins the Sydney CBD

Bistro Guillaume Sydney

Bistro Guillaume Sydney

Hold the phones, Sydney - Guillaume Brahimi is bringing breakfast to the CBD. From tomorrow, Wednesday 7 September, the chef will serve breakfast and lunch at a new branch of Bistro Guillaume. This will be the third Bistro Guillaume (following Melbourne and Perth), the chef's fifth restaurant in total (alongside his Paddington fine-diner Guillaume and Four in Hand by Guillaume), but the first of his ventures to offer a morning meal. 

The 130-seat site, located on George Street in the Suncorp Building, is also home to Brahimi's first pâtisserie, which (in news that'll be very welcome to the cube-warrior set) has a large takeaway counter. There'll be the familiar salad, soup du jour and sandwich options for the office workers dashing out to grab a quick bite, as well as croque-monsieurs, whole tarts to go, sweet and savoury brioche and a full selection of Iggy's bread (baguettes and loaves for your next dinner party without the trip to Bronte? Winning).

"I hope people will want to pop in for a croissant and coffee in the morning, a classic tartine or cheese soufflé for lunch, and then a perfect steak frites with a great bottle of wine at night," says Brahimi. "I think what we have created is unique in this city. It's a comfortable bistro for everyone, at any time."

Pastry display at Bistro Guillaume Sydney.

Interior designer Blainey North is responsible for the bistro's design. The room channels La Belle Époque with duck-egg blue leather chairs, timber and bronze finishes and chandelier lighting. "I've been dreaming of opening one of my bistros in Sydney for years, and it has finally happened," says Brahimi, a Sydney resident of many years' standing.

At dinner, Brahimi classics such as the twice-baked cheese soufflé with Roquefort sauce will be served alongside newer dishes including lamb Pithiviers, and sweets from a dessert trolley stacked high with lemon tarts, Valrhona chocolate mousse and light-as-air Paris-Brest.

There are also whispers (and this could be wishful thinking on our part) that Brahimi has considered freighting in Melbourne's famed Lune croissants, offering Sydneysiders a first taste of the golden pastries, quite probably the best of their kind in the country.

Bistro Guillaume begins trade Wednesday 7 September for breakfast and lunch Monday to Friday, and dinner Saturday nights. The bistro will open in the evenings six nights a week from October.

Bistro Guillaume, 259 George St, Sydney, NSW, (02) 8622 9555, bistroguillaumesydney.com.au; breakfast Mon-Fri 7am-10.30am, lunch Mon-Fri 11.45am-3pm, dinner Sat 5pm-8pm. 

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