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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. 

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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

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.

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.

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.

O Tama Carey's fried eggs with seeni sambol, coconut and turmeric

"I first cooked a version of this dish - inspired by the excellent deep-fried egg dish at Billy Kwong - while working at a restaurant in Sri Lanka," says O Tama Carey. "The lattice-like eggs are doused in a creamy turmeric curry sauce and topped with seeni sambol, a sweet-spiced caramelised onion relish. This dish is equally perfect for an indulgent breakfast as it is served as part of a larger meal." The recipe for the seeni sambol makes more than you need, but to get the right balance of spices you need to make at least this much. It keeps refrigerated for up to three weeks; use as an onion relish. The curry sauce can be made a day or two ahead.

Toby Wilson, Seán McManus and Jon Kennedy to open Bad Hombres

Ghostboy Cantina's fried pig's ear with cucumbers and hot sauce

Ghostboy Cantina's fried pig's ear with cucumbers and hot sauce

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

This could break new ground in meta-dining: a pop-up collaboration based on a collaborative pop-up. Toby Wilson of Sydney pop-up taco shop Ghostboy and Seán McManus and Jon Kennedy of Neighbourhood café in Surry Hills are poised to open Bad Hombres, a temporary eatery specialising in Asian-Mexican eats and natural wines.

Related: Ghostboy Cantina's pork tacos with salsa roja and nashi

Opening on 1 March, Bad Hombres (a tongue-in-cheek reference to Donald Trump) will take over the Surry Hills space that briefly housed Juicy Lucy before the site is demolished. "It's fun not knowing how long we have in the space," says McManus, "but it's perfect for the concept we've got." The "concept" will build upon the successful (and flavour-packed) foundation laid by Ghostboy in its Chinatown food court and Tio's tequila bar incarnations, but with a (marginally) more grown-up approach - and great wine. "Toby and I have been close mates for ages," says McManus. "We thought it would be fun if Ghostboy had some really yummy wines and a more mature space that really lets it shine."

The 50-seat, open-plan restaurant will have a partially open kitchen, a bar with four or five seats and mostly communal tables, while the menu will be in keeping with Ghostboy's flavour profile - Mexican ingredients combined with Asian techniques and produce. On the bar menu, for instance, Wilson is planning a fried pig's ear sandwich with cucumber and hot sauce, plus the return of Ghostboy's char-grilled corn with Japanese mayonnaise and furikake. There'll also be large taco plates for sharing. Expect "a big hunk of protein, such as pork belly rubbed with Mexican chilli, a bowl of herbs, some peaches, a bunch of salsas and a choice of corn tortillas, Chinese pancakes or lettuce cups". One plate will be about five tacos, he says.

McManus is currently drawing up a short, sharp and affordable list of eight or 10 Australian natural wines, all available by the glass. "I'm a big fat vegan and I don't like eggs and fish in my wine," he says. "They're all going to be light and smashable, very 'shut up and drink me now'." There'll also be a couple of beers, and the team is trying to get their hands on a slushie machine for some dodgy cocktails, as Wilson puts it. For McManus, the goal is for more people to taste more wines, and to know exactly where their drop has come from.

Wilson, McManus and Kennedy are experts on coffee, and while there's not a huge demand for it at a dinner-only venue, a filter offering will make an appearance. "We'll also use coffee in a dessert I'm working on," says Wilson, "a corn custard with coffee, cornflakes and malt - the greatest flavour in the world."

Bad Hombres opens 1 March 2017, 40 Reservoir St, Surry Hills, NSW; Wednesday to Saturday 5pm-midnight.

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