On the pass: Ali Orchard, Tomahawk Bar

Author: Fiona Donnelly
Photography: Jared Fowler

Tell us about Tomahawk's menu, Ali.
Because so much work and love go into the craft beers we're showcasing, we want to complement and add to that. I want to put as much love into my cooking as the brewer has put into the beer.

What's your approach?
I take the best beers, try to take them apart, element by element, and work out how to use them in my food. We're smoking a whole rainbow trout, for example, using some hops in the brine and in the woodchips. We also stuff the fish's belly with herbs and hops to let the bitterness of the hops infuse the fish. Then we counteract the bitterness by glazing the outside of the trout with the extracted wort. The rainbow trout is a nice oily fish that just sucks up all the smoky flavours. It all works wonderfully.

Which beers have turned your head most recently?
Australia makes some great Russian imperial stouts. The Feral Brewing Co in Western Australia is doing one called Boris, and it's just so thick and luscious - it's like velvet. We're using it in pot pies, braising the lamb in it for about 35 hours. The results are richer and more robust than cooking with wine. Aussie stout and Aussie lamb - you can't go wrong.

Do you wind down with a beer at the end of a shift?
I love independent and craft beer, but I'm not a seasoned drinker. Two beers and I have to go home. I'm too busy for hangovers.

Tomahawk Bar, 5/182 Grey St, South Bank, Brisbane, Qld.

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