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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Pea and ham soup

Australia's best long-stay lodgings

Peppers Broadbeach, Gold Coast, QLD

Peppers Broadbeach, Gold Coast, QLD

Choosing long-stay accommodation is no easy task. You want all the comforts of home, and then some (laundry, daily housekeeping, gym). These are some of our favourite addresses for extended spells away, whether for work or play.

Sydney's Fraser Suites
sets the sort of five-star standards we like to see in a serviced apartment. The 201 suites, ranging from studios to two-bedroom loft penthouses, occupy a 42-storey CBD tower designed by the British architect Sir Norman Foster. The accommodation - muted and thoroughly modern - comes with designer kitchens, DVD library, coffee machines, gym and pool. Inner-city Surry Hills has a hip alternative for extended stays in the neon-bright Adge Boutique Apartment Hotel. Two-bedroom apartments offer European appliances, smart TVs, turn-down service, and pole position for exploring Sydney's hottest dining precinct.

In Melbourne's CBD, Citadines on Bourke is a sharp-looking tower of black glass encasing 380 apartments from studio to two-bedroom. Trams are on the doorstep; the MCG and the Melbourne Park tennis centre are within strolling distance. Breakfast, laundry, parking and airport transfers on request - which, when you think about, is better than staying at home.

When it's all play and no work, we like Smiths Beach Resort on Western Australia's idyllic southern coastline, near Yallingup and handy to Margaret River wineries. Accommodation ranges from one to four bedrooms in apartments and beach houses; the resort has a deli, restaurant, bar, cellar door, pool and a gorgeous sweep of Indian Ocean. A step down from Qualia, but far more sensible for extended stays, Hamilton Island's Yacht Club Villas have three or four bedrooms, all mod cons and ocean views. Oh, and a four-person golf buggy for island excursions.

Peppers Group properties are a good choice for prolonged breaks. Some are smarter than others; Peppers Broadbeach on the Gold Coast has impressive tech specs - iPad check-in, WiFi, complimentary new-release films - and guest facilities including resort pool, gym, sauna, private cinema and tai chi lawn.

In winter, with the ski season in full swing, QT Falls Creek offers stylish lodgings among the snow gums. One- and three-bedroom apartments have the best alpine views (not all are equal - do your homework) but all have balcony hot tubs. There are limited services outside the ski season.

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