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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.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

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.

The Pig on the Beach, Dorset, England

The newest Pig hotel in England is really a restaurant with rooms - and its garden-to-plate principles are as impressive as the views.

The Pig on the Beach has the classiest sea views in Dorset: across bobbing fishing boats to Old Harry Rocks. Opened in June, this is the latest in The Pig hotels' litter and joins the three-year-old Pig in the New Forest, in south-west England, The Pig In The Wall, at Southampton, and The Pig Near Bath.

About two and a half hours' drive from London and overlooking Studland Bay, we think this clifftop Pig has the best location of all. It's the former Manor House Hotel, leased from the National Trust, and co-owners Robin Hutson and David Elton have applied their trademark informal style to the conversion of this Arts and Crafts villa, along with intelligent service and a ferocious commitment to food provenance.

There are 23 bedrooms and a couple of sequestered outside bedrooms - The Lookout and The Bothy overlook a walled garden and the sea. Guests can wander off to two shepherd's huts in a meadow for massages using Bamford products.

For all its comforts, though, The Pig on the Beach is essentially a restaurant with rooms - and, oh, what a restaurant. The garden-to-plate ethos is executed with rigour; nothing hits the table that hasn't been raised or foraged in the hotel's kitchen garden or within a 40-kilometre radius - fennel, pea shoots, garden beans, Isle of Wight tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, blackcurrants and more. Other local specialties include Dorset whelks and Purbeck eggs.

There's private dining for 12 in the thatched Roundhouse, and the bar, with its floorboards made from railway sleepers, is a perfect evening bookend.

The only caveat is the Pig's popularity: you might well secure a room, and pigs might fly, too.

The Pig on the Beach, rooms from $252. Manor House, Manor Road, Studland, Dorset.


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