*AD: Gifted - this was a press meal and I received a complimentary meal for an honest review.*
Why you should visit:
To try their amazing sushi
For the impeccable service
Get all tech with the ipad drinks menu
To order a dessert bento box – yes, it’s a thing!
After living in Manchester for almost three years, I can’t believe this was the first time I’d got to visit Australasia. I’d heard so many good things about the restaurant and it had been on my list to visit for quite some time.
Based in the Spinningfields area of Manchester, you can’t miss Australasia and its glass triangle entrance right on Deansgate. With a menu that is based on modern Australia, with influences from the Pacific Rim and the country’s strong links with Japan and Southeast Asia (hence the name Austral-asia), it features lots of sushi along with Asian inspired small plates and mains. I was visiting last month to try out their newly launched menu.
After entering through the impressive glass entrance, you are taken into a large dining room and bar that has a modern luxe feel. Light earthy tones are mixed with rustic materials, such as rattan and wood, to create a calming space that is softly lit with candles and mood lighting. The seating is a mix of tables and booths and we were sat in the latter, which was equally spacious and cosy.
Alongside the traditional menu, you are given ipads which contain the drinks options. I’ve never seen this before and it was a great idea as you could see exactly what your cocktail was going to look like before ordering. It’s actually really annoying if you ever order a cocktail and think it’s going to long and it’s short, or vice versa, so this is a clever way to make sure you get exactly what you’re ordering.
We opted for a Aperistar, which was like a spiced fruity Aperol Spritz, and a Pineapple and Coconut Mojito, which had a hint of a Pina Colada about it.
As we were there to try out the new menu, we of course selected a few of the new dishes to taste. These were:
Sweet Potato Tempura with chilli & soy sauce
Asparagus & Spring Onion with sweet sesame glaze
Short Rib with onion miso sauce
We also ordered:
Yellowfin Tuna Nigiri
Salt & pepper prawn California Rolls with spring onion and pickled daikon
Peking duck California Rolls with hoisin, cucumber and spring onion
Seared Teriyaki Beef Rump with sweet soy and spring onion
Garlic spiced Prawns with mango and lime salt
Steamed Edamame Beans tossed in soy & sesame oil
Pork Wontons, sweetcorn puree, sriracha and sesame soy
Roasted Scallops with cauliflower puree and wakame pickle
It was an absolutely delicious mix of dishes, with the combination of the sushi and small plates, and I really enjoyed the way we were served the dishes. We began with sushi and then the other dishes followed in stages. It really made the meal feel incredibly relaxed and gave you the time to properly taste and enjoy each course, rather than having everything in front of you at once.
Highlights from the new menu were the sweet potato tempura, which were salty and sweet and almost like big crisps, and the delicately soft short rib with its rich gravy like onion miso sauce.
From the rest of the menu, our stand outs were the seared teriyaki beef, which was so sweet and succulent and made us wish we’d ordered it twice, and the sushi. The tuna Nigiri literally melted in the mouth and the California rolls were some of the best I’ve eaten, with the salt and pepper prawns packing a seasoned punch.
We were comfortably full at this point but the lure of the Bento Box Sharing Selection was too strong. It was such a well presented dessert with two of everything, making it the perfect pudding to share. The standout was the Coconut Friande and the Chocolate and Peanut Dome, which slowly melted as you poured caramel sauce from a tiny glass teapot over it – what’s not to love!
There was one small disappointment to our meal and that was the coffee at the end. Not only was it watery but it was also served in a cocktail glass, which just didn’t work.
We absolutely loved our meal at Australasia and will definitely be back for another visit soon. It’s the perfect place to visit for a special treat or just to get your sushi fix – you won’t be disappointed.
Australasia Manchester, 1 The Avenue, Manchester, M3 3