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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.

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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

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.

Grand Budapest wine revival

Doblo, Budapest

Doblo, Budapest

The latest crop of Hungarian winemakers has sparked a new focus on the nation's wines and a lively bar culture in the capital.

Not since the halcyon days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire have Hungarian wines received this much attention. "We are seeing eager winemakers who are wanting to find their own way," says András Jókuti, a Budapest food and wine blogger who has observed the revival of the nation's wine industry and the recent emergence of wine bars in the capital.

Leading the charge in 2009 was Doblo, an upmarket bar located in the Jewish 7th district. Owner David Popovits says wine bars have appeared in response to the nation's burgeoning wine production and a local audience with renewed interest in the nation's unique wine styles.

"In the past two decades, the European Union and government have supported wineries, and in particular young winemakers," Popovits says. "Today there are over 22 wine-growing regions in the country and most of it is consumed in Hungary because it's so good."

The nation's most distinctive styles include the highly prized Aszús dessert wine from Hungary's famous Tokaj wine region and the full-bodied, oak-aged Egri Bikavér red variety from the Eger wine region.

DiVino, in the 5th district, is a wine bar run by a group of entrepreneurial young winemakers who stock labels from 25 Hungarian cellars, including dry whites from the aromatic Furmint grape, and dessert wines from the light-skinned Ezerjó grape. "The winemakers frequently come to the bar to chat wines with enthusiasts," says Jókuti. "This personal touch makes it a unique space in Budapest."

The guiding business principle at the elegant Drop Shop is storytelling; staff are keen to tell the story of the wines stocked at this busy bar. An eclectic, often VIP crowd can be found here late at night with staff, chatting, tasting and debating.


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