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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.

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.

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.

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.

New Los Angeles hotels

Rose Hotel, Los Angeles

Rose Hotel, Los Angeles

Two LA hotels, both with shady pasts, are taking a glamorous, new turn.

Hollywood loves a second act and two new LA hotels are obliging, with dramatic makeovers propelling them from scandalous flophouses to glamorous retreats. Hotelier Jeff Klein, known for the celeb-studded Sunset Tower Hotel, has transformed a clothing-optional motel for gay men into a budget-friendly, jet-set sanctuary in West Hollywood. The new-look San Vicente Bungalows spans 29 whitewashed cottages in a courtyard garlanded with tropical plants. The cosy rooms are simply decorated and feature toiletries by Malin + Goetz.

Meanwhile, in beachside Venice, British fashion photographer Glen Luchford is behind the flowering of The Rose, a 14-room hotel in an Arts and Crafts-style building from 1908. In a previous life, the hotel was believed to have been a brothel, and it later became a hub for the surfers, artists and bohemians instinctively drawn to Venice. In the intervening years, luminaries including Charlie Chaplin, Jim Morrison and Dennis Hopper have checked into the property. Luchford worked with his colleague Doug Bruce and local designer Katerina Tana to primp the hotel's interiors, with handsome flea-market finds, Indian cotton rugs and ticking-stripe bedding.

Perfection was not the aim. "Our walls are thin, and the building is wonky. And we like it just as it is," says The Rose's website, perhaps one-upping Trip Advisor and its pernickety reviewers.

Some of the hotel's expansive suites have wraparound terraces perched above the carnival-like atmosphere of the Venice Boardwalk. With its eccentric performers, ragamuffin denizens and street vendors hawking everything from bongs to thongs, the beach scene is a potent reminder of the city's lurid past. Some things, even in LA, can never be made over.

San Vicente Bungalows, 845 North San Vicente Boulevard, West Hollywood, LA; The Rose Hotel, 15 Rose Ave, Venice, LA

Planning a trip to LA? Check out our Los Angeles travel guide.


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