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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.

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.

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.

Mayfair Hotel, Adelaide

A new property in Adelaide combines character with contemporary flair.

Adelaide's arrival as a gastro-cultural hotspot has been hamstrung by a lack of desirable hotels - something the new 170-room Mayfair Hotel aims to change.

A $55 million investment by Adelaide-based Adabco Group has seen patient rejuvenation of a heritage-listed 1930s building that was once home to an insurance company. Commanding a major intersection in the centre of Adelaide's CBD, the boutique hotel embraces classic style with a contemporary twist.

Interior design by Bates Smart picks up bold, oblong Art Deco lines, defined by glossy black, stark white and cool slate colours, framing cut-crystal lamps and bold mirrors.

While not presenting grand extravagance, Mayfair Hotel offers a dash of flair in its new four-floor annex - referred to as "the jewel box" due to its diamond-patterned metal cladding - linked to the original heritage-listed building.

A low-ceilinged lobby is underwhelming and lacks a sense of arrival, but closer observation reveals pretty couch fabrics, cushions and two concealed lounge areas shielded from the view of those arriving at the hotel.

The biggest dazzle at the property, however, will be launched in the next few months. Named after the building's original architects, the Hennessy Lounge will occupy the hotel's top floor. This refuge, with a private lounge and bar, and breathtaking views of the city, will be reserved for the exclusive use of the hotel's executive-floor guests. In the floors below, rooms in different configurations - designed to fit like pieces of a puzzle within the heritage frame of the building - feature custom-designed beds.

Mayflower Restaurant in the basement has chef Bethany Finn cleverly reviving classic hotel cuisine with a playful contemporary accent, although it's a hidden gem buried from public view down a staircase. Café 55 at street level introduces passing pedestrians to the hotel's food offerings, with coffee, pâtisseries and take-away lunches.

Rooms from $200 per night. 45 King William St, Adelaide, SA, (08) 8210 8888


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