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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.

Local Knowledge: Moscow

The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow

The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow

Director of Shakespeare theatre company Cheek by Jowl Declan Donnellan walks us through the essential sights and his favourite cafés and restaurants of his hometown.

When I first went to Moscow more than 30 years ago, it was called "the Big Village". Now Pushkinskaya Square lights up like Las Vegas.

My local canteen is Moloko, a downtown café open 24/7 in a former Soviet dairy shop. For the sinful, it serves especially penitent food during Orthodox Lent. It's fun to see people discussing business deals and leg waxing over plates of buckwheat and cabbage.

A common hazard in Moscow restaurants is deafening music and multiple TV screens showing continuous catwalk scenes - so boring you start to hallucinate. CDL, by contrast, is a quiet spot in a beautiful mansion that serves great traditional Russian food. One half is trendy and redesigned, the other is for members only who are served Soviet-style dishes such as chicken Kiev, pirozhki and borsch by women in old-fashioned uniforms with aprons and those odd tiara-style hats. I became a member recently after opening Measure for Measure.

We take visitors to the Eliseevsky food shop on Tverskaya: masses of food brilliantly displayed, basically unchanged from Tsarist times. A great place to buy Russian biscuits, chocolates, caviar, and vodka, of course.

Who knew Moscow has great ice-cream?

For the finest Russian art I love the Tretyakov Gallery. The icons in particular are breathtaking.

With more than 250 theatres in the city, I try to see work by my friends and colleagues at the Bolshoi, Moscow Art Theatre, Pushkin Theatre and Theatre of Nations.

On a rainy afternoon I love seeing the paintings I know well at the Pushkin museum.

The quintessential Moscow experience is a long evening in a friend's apartment. You really have to spend a night sharing vodka and pickles with Muscovites to discover what they're really like.

Declan Donnellan is the artistic director of Cheek by Jowl theatre company.

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