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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.

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.

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.

Australia's best budget hotels

The Larwill Studio

The Larwill Studio

Comfort and convenience come hand-in-hand at Australia's nicest affordable hotels.

When the travel budget's tight, a clean and convenient address for the night - with funds left over to have fun - is all that really matters. Sydney newcomer Hotel Harry (40-44 Wentworth Avenue, Surry Hills, NSW, hotelharry.com.au) knows the score. Located in the prime tourist territory of Surry Hills, with city landmarks in walking distance, even the cheapest of its 20 rooms come with WiFi and espresso machines for little more than $120 a night. Room rates are even cheaper at weekends when the downstairs bar and diner gets a little rowdy and rooms are "noise-affected", as they say.

Further along Wentworth Avenue, Central Station Hotel (75 Wentworth Avenue, Sydney, NSW, centralstationhotel.com.au) is an equally convenient base for exploring the Emerald City. The revamped heritage pile houses 114 rooms with high ceilings, fast WiFi and free Foxtel. The hotel's aptly named Shoebox rooms are eight to 10 square metres in size from $129 a night.

In increasingly lively Adelaide, the bright, fun-filled Ibis Adelaide Hotel (122 Grenfell Street, Adelaide, SA, ibis.com) is an Australian benchmark for the budget brand. It has an excellent CBD location, 311 modern, practical rooms - some with views of the Adelaide Hills - and the sort of warm, attentive service associated with much higher price tags.

Perth's Pensione Hotel (3 Throssell Street, Perth, WA, 8hotels.com) is the western outpost of the affordable 8 Hotels group, with 98 small but functional rooms on central Murray Street, handy to the Swan River, Chinatown and the dining hotspot of Northbridge. WiFi, guest laundry and Foxtel are included in the tariff. The three-star Sullivans Hotel  (166 Mounts Bay Road, Perth, WA, sullivans.com.au) backs onto Kings Park, faces the Swan River, and offers free WiFi and bikes for guest use.

In Melbourne, the budget-conscious can choose between the parkland surrounds of The Larwill Studio (48 Flemington Road, Parkville, Vic, artserieshotels.com.au) - 96 rooms, most with kingsize beds - or Mercure Welcome Melbourne's (265 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne, Vic, mercurewelcome.com.au) exceptional Little Bourke Street position, sandwiched between department stores, opposite the GPO retail arcade, and less than a block from Chinatown's hottest kitchens.

Tryp Fortitude Valley Hotel  (14-20 Constance Street, Fortitude Valley, QLD, trypbrisbane.com)in Brisbane's lively Fortitude Valley packs in plenty of street art, a rooftop bar, a ground-floor burger joint, free multi-device WiFi and Bluetooth docks - all at an affordable price. If you're feeling flush, upgrade to a balcony room, or one with an outdoor spa.

And in Hobart, we still can't go past the Fountainside Hotel (40 Brooker Avenue, Hobart, Tas, fountainside.com.au) for a no-frills stay. Its cityedge location, minibar drinks at bottle-shop prices, comfortable beds and capital views from top-floor rooms embrace the best of Tasmanian hospitality.

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Recipe collections

Looking for ways to make the most out of seasonal produce? Want to find a recipe perfect for a party? Or just after fresh ideas for dessert? Either way, our recipe collections have you covered.

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2017 Restaurant Guide

Our 2017 Restaurant Guide is online, covering over 400 restaurants Australia wide. Never wonder where to dine again.

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