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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.

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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.


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.

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.

Lei lines

Break out the loud shirts. Australian travellers are heading to Hawaii in record numbers, writes Kendall Hill.

It's boom time on Hawaii's beaches. Lured by the temptations of sun-drenched days and a robust dollar, we're invading the Aloha State like never before.

Around 68,000 Australians touched down at Honolulu International Airport in the first three months of this year, a 29 per cent increase on 2012 figures. By year's end, the Hawaii Tourism Authority expects to welcome some 282,000 Australians to its shores and, in the process, notch up a new record in trans-Pacific traffic.

Why Hawaii? "Apart from our well-known beach culture, more Australians are discovering the diversity of our islands," says Helen Williams, Hawaii Tourism Oceania's chief. "[They're] viewing the lava flow to the sea in the Volcanoes National Park, diving with the manta rays off the Kona Coast, teeing off a round of golf overlooking the Pacific Ocean, or catching a wave on the North Shore."

Australasian arrivals have risen by 30 per cent each year since 2011, but it's not all about Oahu and the pleasures of Waikiki. Visits to lesser-known but equally enticing islands such as Hawaii (The Big Island) and Maui are up by 40 per cent. And there have been more and more holiday-makers flying in for family reunions and weddings.

The upsurge has led to a boost in airline capacity, with 16 weekly flights from Sydney (even more in peak periods), plus new direct links from Melbourne and Brisbane.

There's also serious investment in accommodation. Hyatt's Andaz brand opened its first resort on the Mokapu beachfront at Maui last month. The Andaz Maui at Wailea has 290 rooms and seven two- to four-bedroom villas occupying a prime, six-hectare seafront plot on the island's south-west coast. In keeping with the Andaz aesthetic, resort décor channels Maui's rich culture into a contemporary setting full of character and designed to dazzle even the most jaded 21st-century jetsetters. Its attractions include the poolside Morimoto Maui, a signature restaurant by Iron Chef's Masaharu Morimoto, fusing Japanese tradition with Hawaiian ingredients, and a series of cascading pools with private cabanas.

The Andaz leads a pack of new or improved properties, including the rebooted and rebadged Shoreline Hotel (formerly the Seaside Hotel), a 135-room tower of white on Waikiki. Interior highlights include Wegner wingback chairs and four penthouse suites with panoramic Pacific views.

Hokulani Waikiki by Hilton Grand Vacations Club is due to open late this year and will feature 143 apartment-style rooms in a 14-storey resort. And Hilton has spent $27 million freshening up the guestrooms and public areas of the Ali'i Tower at its Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort.

This month dozens of high-profile chefs and winemakers will gather on the islands of Oahu and Maui for the third Hawaii Food & Wine Festival (1-9 September). Tetsuya Wakuda will fly the flag for Australia, conjuring culinary treats from Hawaiian ingredients, part of a line-up including Grant Achatz of Chicago's Alinea, fusion maestro Nobu Matsuhisa and Christina Tosi of New York's Momofuku Milk Bar.

Bill Granger is preparing to take a bite of the Hawaiian pineapple, with his Waikiki outpost at 280 Beach Walk due to open this month. The diner, called Bills Sydney, will be "the ultimate beach house", says Granger, with a downstairs café open from breakfast until late and casual restaurant dining above. Menus will feature such Sydney classics as ricotta hotcakes and toasted coconut bread alongside dishes inspired by Hawaii's cuisine.

"When I first visited Hawaii I had no idea how vibrant the food scene was," he says. "I've found their version of fusion, with Vietnamese, Japanese, indigenous and, of course, the odd bit of Portland or Brooklyn thrown in, an inspiration."

So he's dabbling in a bit of fusion himself, creating new plates such as an avocado and tuna poke with brown rice, cherry tomatoes, sea asparagus and sesame seeds. And, in keeping with Waikiki's laid-back vibe, this Bills will be the first of Granger's restaurants to introduce pizze, topped with locally sourced ingredients such as heirloom tomatoes from Ho Farms at Kahuku on Oahu's north shore.

Like many of his fellow Australians, Granger was drawn to Hawaii for its climate and formidable hospitality, and Honolulu in particular for its accessible pleasures.

"Honolulu is my favourite type of beach, an urban beach," he says.

Granger spoke to Gourmet Traveller as the fit-out was being completed. "I can't wait to see the whole place in full swing: banquettes along the verandah filled with customers, baristas churning out coffees and juices in the big feature bar downstairs, the full effect of the space with its timber-clad ceilings and walls, concrete staircase and sunny skylight. I really can't wait."


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