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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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Heart Ibiza

Spain's Adrià brothers team with Cirque du Soleil founder for a heartfelt project.

Ibiza's reputation for hedonistic nightlife has never been matched by its culinary scene, which adds to the buzz around the opening of Heart Ibiza, a music, dining and theatrical venue that can accommodate a thousand people by Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté and Spain's famous chef brothers Albert and Ferran Adrià.

Heart Ibiza, in the Ibiza Gran Hotel complex in the main port, comprises Terrace, a collection of street food-inspired stalls and live performances upstairs, a fine-diner downstairs called Supper Club with cabaret performances in Cirque du Soleil style and, this being Ibiza, there's Club, for clubbing.

Most of the Terrace stalls serve one dish only, often with a twist. "We've taken inspiration from the freedom and fun of a street-food market experience, a journey through countries like Japan, Peru, Spain and China," Albert says. Downstairs, Supper's menu continues the global journey with the likes of Galician lobster done Singapore chilli crab-style.

Quebec-born Laliberté, who lives in a clifftop estate on the island, sold the majority share of Cirque du Soleil to multinational investors this year, enabling him to focus on projects he hopes will raise Ibiza's cultural profile.

The idea of Heart was born in the late '90s, when Laliberté visited Ferran's legendary El Bulli, and in turn invited the brothers to see his latest production at the time, Alegría, in Barcelona.

Heart is a characteristically ambitious project for the trio, creating a light-hearted alternative to the island's typically more formal approach to dining.

"Fundamentally we want people to have a good time," says Albert, "to have them look forward to experiencing something unique, hoping that they leave with their expectations wildly exceeded."

Heart Ibiza, Passeig de Joan Carles I, 17, Ibiza, Spain

Related link: the Gourmet Traveller guide to Ibiza.


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