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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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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

Chorizo recipes

Where would Spanish cuisine be without the chorizo? This versatile smallgood lends its big flavours to South American stews, soups, and salads, not to mention the ultimate hot dog. Let the sizzling begin.

Karachi street eats

One of Pakistan’s most famous daughters, Fatima Bhutto, says her country’s best food is found at the road-side stalls of her home town.

Most of the images the world sees of Pakistan are of political unrest and violence, but this incredibly rich and spirited country is made of so much more than its recent and accursed reputation as a home base for terrorism, corruption and Al Qaeda retirement opportunities. It is a country of myriad languages, ethnicities and religions… and exquisite food.

Karachi is Pakistan's feistiest city, its most multi-ethnic, its most tolerant, and the capital of its Sufi culture. It's where the nation's artists are freest, where the adventurous can mix in a city whose boundaries were always fluid, and where the irreverent can always be assured safe passage. And it's where you will find some of Pakistan's best eating.

Sydney may have groovy Argentinean grills and grand art deco steak houses, as I discovered on my recent visit, but Karachi can't be beat when it comes to its road-side offerings. Let's call it our version of dude food. There are plenty of restaurants serving fussed-up tikkas and paltry mimics of home-style curries, but to eat well in Karachi you have to head to the streets.

Bun kebab, the jazzed-up Pakistani version of the burger, is the stuff from which food dreams are made: minced meat (most likely mutton) is spiced with black cumin and red chillies, and comes with a fried egg, onions, a coriander and mint chutney spiked with green chillies, and sometimes lentils, all served between charred buns. If red meat isn't to your liking, you can opt for the vegetarian version, the aloo bun kebab (made of potato, and without the egg), or perhaps a paratha chicken roll. Chicken smeared in ginger, garlic paste, turmeric and mustard is necklaced with pungent white onions and then rolled into an oily and deliciously chewy paratha. It's impossible to eat just one: order three. At more upscale establishments, these rolls come with modern affectations such as melted cheese, Thai green curry and aïoli. And consider yourself warned: there is a divide between bun kebab and chicken roll aficionados. Only the greedy claim to be both.

Not so hungry? Try the roasted corn, doused with lime juice and red chillies, sold on the cob or in little serving dishes fashioned out of old newspapers. Or perhaps pakoras, dipped into a sweet runny ketchup. These bite-sized vegetables fried in a batter of chickpea flour, coriander seeds, salt, coriander and red chillies are a favourite during the holy month of Ramadan. You can choose potato, okra, onion, spinach… just about anything can be made into a pakora.

Crunchy round golgappas (or pani puris) stuffed with potatoes and chickpeas and floating in liquid flavoured with cumin, black pepper, red chilli powder and tamarind are another city favourite. Karachi's golgappas are legendary.

If you've a sweet tooth, avoid the ghee- and sugar-laden sweets - trust me, most South Asians can't stomach them either, unless obliged to eat them at weddings and ceremonial functions - and satisfy the need for pudding discerningly.

The pick of the bunch is jalebi, curly fermented knots made from semolina flour and curd, deep-fried until they are golden, then dipped in a sugar and saffron syrup (sometimes rosewater or cardamom are added to the mix). Falsa, a fruit not unlike the blackberry, is great with mango in shakes and juices. And gola gundas (ice slushies), with or without condensed milk, are the perfect summer cooler.

So, what are you waiting for? Make Karachi your next food destination. I'll see you there - we'll do lunch.


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Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

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Recipe collections

Looking for ways to make the most out of seasonal produce? Want to find a recipe perfect for a party? Or just after fresh ideas for dessert? Either way, our recipe collections have you covered.

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2017 Restaurant Guide

Our 2017 Restaurant Guide is online, covering over 400 restaurants Australia wide. Never wonder where to dine again.

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