Healthy Eating

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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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

Neil Perry in Rome

In between doing some filming for MasterChef and a bit of research for an Italian restaurant, chef Neil Perry did some sightseeing in Rome.

It was with a great deal of excitement that I set out for Rome. I hadn't been there for 20 years, and Sam, my wife, had never been. I wanted to do a bit of research for an Italian restaurant we're doing, Rosetta, as well as some filming for MasterChef.

We stayed at the Westin, right next to the American Embassy, and it's a really good spot because you walk down the hill and you're at the Spanish Steps. Go a bit further down, turn right and walk on and you're in the Piazza del Popolo, or go left and you can walk down to the Forum and the Colosseum. There aren't many places where you go for a walk in the morning and pass 2000- and 3000-year-old ruins in the centre of a modern city.

Besides the food, this is what I really love about Rome: the sheer beauty of all the history and monuments. It's a sensory overload. Around every corner there's another amazing church, a significant fountain, or a mind-blowing piazza with two or three of those amazing monuments. My friend Claudio says there are 1500 churches in Rome, and I suspect we saw a lot of them. We soaked up Rome, and then we did what we came here for: we ate.

We ate not only with our mouths but with our eyes. We visited butchers, fruit stalls and fish shops, watched the Romans buying fresh produce for the evening meal. The big market, Campo dè Fiori, has been operating since the 16th century (it moved to its current location in 1869), and it was awash with spring vegetables - the most beautiful array of artichokes, broad beans, peas and asparagus, as well as wonderful fruits from Sicily. Hanging out at the markets was a chef's paradise, and it was only the allure of eating at Roscioli that got me away.

Roscioli is the most amazing deli. It has a few tables out the back and some against the counter. It's near the Campo dè Fiori, down a little side street, and it's a beautiful produce-led experience. We had fantastic prosciutto, mortadella, anchovies, mozzarella, and little goat's milk ricottas made that day. We drank a San Fereolo 2004 Dolcetto - beautiful fruit but enough maturity to be a gorgeous drink. For 20 euros, it doesn't get any better.

We tested other restaurants serving classic Roman fare and we loved Dal Bolognese on Piazza del Popolo. It's quite a scene and a bit touristy, but the tagliarini noodles had a nice firm bite and the ragù was cooked down to the point where it wasn't saucy but had tiny lumps of braised, tender meat with a bit of the juices. It clung to the pasta, which is exactly the way it's supposed to be.

I also enjoyed the bollito misto - cotechino, veal tongue, veal breast and capon, poached, sliced and served with salsa verde and mustard fruits. It's a chef thing, eating all those bits and pieces. We love that kind of stuff.

Checchino dal 1887, over in the old slaughterhouse quarter, specialises in nose-to-tail eating. I loved the Roman- style tripe here, with tomato, mint and pecorino. Piperno, the famous old restaurant in the Jewish quarter, came highly recommended, and I loved their grilled lamb cutlets, crisp, well done and juicy all at the same time, paired with some braised peas. At Al Moro we enjoyed artichokes, calamari and salt cod braised with tomato and just enough chilli to make me feel at home. It's a classic place a short walk from the Trevi Fountain where thousands of people gather every day. Throw
a coin in and it will bring you back to Rome.

Chef Neil Perry founded the Rockpool group of restaurants.


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2017 Restaurant Guide

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