Australasia is one of those venues in Manchester that oozes such exquisite beauty – from its subterranean, modern decor to its creative menu brimming with unexpected surprises, you feel as though you need a special occasion to dress up and indulge…
They’ve recently undergone a late-summer revamp, and the terrace-come-beach-bar at the back looks out of this world, inviting you to breathe in the Manchester sunset over a new sharing food menu.
The beautiful baby pinks, linen-fresh whites and golden lamps amidst the modern stripes make the whole place feel like the ultimate wedding venue and it has an air of complete modern magic about it.
Stylish but laid back is the vibe they’re going for this summer – and they’ve captured it in abundance – as soon as you step through the terrace entrance you feel as though you’re being sailed away to a faraway shore.
“Forget the world outside and soak up the sunset” they tease imploringly…
And it’s a sunshine-infused selection of sushi and light Asian fusion dishes which await you there – bringing a fresh spark and indisputably indulgent vibe to the all-day menu. World flavours, all masterfully blended, characterise both the sunset food and drink.
The new additions include a range of exotic Bento Boxes alongside an Asian-influenced afternoon tea – all designed, along with the ambience, to relieve your everyday stresses and embrace the glory of a beach sunset as you mentally transport yourself to an island far away through the heady medium of food and drink.
Sunset snacks range from the exotic to the downright curious – with a tantalising mix of tempura battered fresh sweetcorn dusted with chilli salt, oysters in natural, nam jin and soy mirin alongside the popular ‘yum yum squares’ (fried rice squares with spicy tuna and avocado.)
We chose the signature mixed bento box which features a little taste of Australasia – a selection of fish, meat and salad dishes – alongside the 100% vegan box – silken tofu and exotic vegetables with enough flavour to tempt the most stubborn of carnivores.
The real star of the show for me though was the dessert bento selection. The mini chocolate caramel dome with butterscotch teapot had me practically licking the bowl – not something you want to be caught doing in a fine establishment.
I enquired and Australasia confirmed that they do offer the chocolate dome as a full-size dessert on the main menu which I will almost definitely be returning for (just to check they’ve kept the standards up, you know, experimental…purposes.) While the ginger cheesecake and pistachio and passionfruit macarons were also lovely and very delicately presented (this element couldn’t be faulted throughout the meal) the close second-favourite for me was the panna cotta. Smooth and beautiful and lifted by the berry glaze, it was garnished with black sesame crispies which were a firework of flavour in themselves and went perfectly with the panna cotta, which I find can be a little bland and therefore a dessert I’d tend to order less frequently. I’d go back for it here though, time and time again.
The dishes are fairly reasonable, despite Spinningfields over-priced reputation. It’ll set you back around £30-40 for the Bento sharer for 2 but the afternoon tea is a little steeper at £27.50 per person – with alcohol (this does include a frozen sunset pornstar or a glass of mirabeau pure rosee on arrival though ;)) it’s £22.50 without, FYI.
You can check out the full Sunset menu here.