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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.

Batty Langley’s, London

New London hotel from the Hazlitt's creators replicates Georgian grandeur.

For much of the past two centuries Spitalfields, in east London, was a slum. Now fashionable, its fortunes changed in the 1990s when it started getting gentrified, and the neighbourhood has become one of the most charming historic areas of London.

It's teeming with clothing stalls, antiques markets and notable restaurants such as Taberna do Mercado, the latest opening from Nuno Mendes of Chiltern Firehouse fame.

Back in the 18th century, comparatively wealthy Huguenot artisans built the loveliest parts of Spitalfields. The well-restored Folgate Street is now home to a museum showcasing one such Huguenot building, and next door is the area's first luxury hotel, Batty Langley's.

Hoteliers Douglas Blain and Peter McKay are preservationists and self-confessed eccentrics who previously created the atmospheric Hazlitt's Hotel in Soho from a shell, followed by The Rookery in Clerkenwell.

The Batty Langley's project started 20 years ago with the acquisition and eventual rebuild of a five-storey building. Over the past five years McKay has sourced furniture and artwork to evoke a plush 18th-century inn. The rooms have remarkable attention to detail in everything from the plumbing (dolphin bath spigots, elaborate flush levers) to tongue-and-groove panelling that replicates the grandeur of the Georgian era. It feels like a members' club rather than a hotel. There's no restaurant and the front door is locked to all but guests. The service is welcoming, though. Breakfasts are served in the rooms, and some suites have views across the East End.

Batty Langley's, 12 Folgate St, London, E1 6BX


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