Food Blog: Casual Fine Dining at Australasia Manchester

Gifted meal

If you remember my review of Sunset by Australasia, then it will come as no surprise that I was extremely excited to visit their parent restaurant Australasia this weekend.

Whilst Sunset is open for all to see the beautiful pink interior, Australasia remains more of a hidden secret.

From street level, all you can see is the glass pyramid leading you down the stairs.

I’ve walked past it many times and wondered what it would be like in this basement based bar and restaurant… And after being invited to try out their new menu, I now know!

Australasia in Manchester is a hidden treasure trove of tasty treats and delectable dining.

With a pan-Asian themed menu, there are many tempting options on the menu. From sushi and tempura through to duck salads and more. There’s a vast selection of flavours on offer.

As soon as you walk down the stairs the restaurant opens out into a surprisingly large area. At one point I thought it was actually a mirror in the middle giving the illusion of a huge dining area. But nope, it’s just a lot bigger than you imagine it to be.

“Modern Australian cuisine combines Pacific Rim
flavours underpinned by European cooking tradition,
a blend of Indonesian, Southeast Asian influences
and Australia’s strong ties with Japan also help
determine the taste and style.”

With booths across the sides and individual tables in the central areas, the muted colour scheme, lavishly accessorised makes way for the open kitchen at the back – where you can watch the magic happen on your way past to the loo.

“Spring is (finally) in the air and, to celebrate the season of new beginnings, Australasia has launched a fabulously fresh menu.  The menu includes delectable dishes such as Sweet Potato Tempura, Mongolian Lamb Cutlets and Roasted Baby Aubergines.   Fans of Australasia’s signature dishes need not panic; old favourites including Blackened Cod in Roasted Hobo Leaf, Seared Teriyaki Beef with Sweet Soy and Spring Onion and, of course their sensational selection of Sushi and Sashimi remain on the menu.”

At first the menu appeared to be slightly overwhelming.

Especially for someone as indecisive as I am. I literally wanted it all. We asked our lovely server which were the newer dishes, as that is what we were there to feature. Turns out most of the menu was new additions, so we were in luck!

However, we decided to start with a selection of sushi and sashimi for our first course. The server explained that dishes are served in ‘waves’ and are delivered to the table as prepared, which works very well.

australasia menu manchester
sushi at australasia manchester

The sushi selection consisted of the following Californian Rolls:

✓ Salt & pepper prawn with spring onion and pickled daikon
✓ Spicy tuna with avocado and lotus crisp
✓ Peking duck with hoisin, cucumber and spring onion
✓ Salmon, cream cheese, chilli and cucumber
✓ Asparagus, pressed watermelon, mango and red pepper

Our Sashimi selection was made up of:

✓ Yellowfin tuna
✓ Loch Duart salmon
✓ Scallop

They also do a selection of bigger plates in case you just want a main meal, rather than picky bits. I love trying a little bit of everything though, so the smaller plates were ideal for me. The recommendation is to choose between 3 and 6 plates per person.

I eyed up the grilled sea bass with mango, chilli and pomegranate as soon as I sat down. When it first came out I was a little confused as it appeared to have noodles on top. Turned out this was the mango, which was a fruity and delicious surprise.

My absolute favourite thing I tried from the Australasia menu was the Mongolian lamb cutlets.

We chose to have these with some sweet potato and rosemary mash. Which turned out to be the perfect combination of both flavours and texture.

I cannot describe how juicy these little lamb cutlets were. Granted, for £10 for 2 (with the Asian slaw) it is not the cheapest option on the menu, but by God was it one of the most tasty. I could have probably eaten 10 of these in one go. Then 10 again an hour later.

australasia manchester
soft shell crab at australasia manchester

By the point that our soft cell crab tempura appeared we were getting rather full. I think this is the beauty of eating smaller plates and taking your time though. You get to enjoy the food and don’t rush, meaning you feel pretty full despite not actually eating a massive amount.

Australasia Manchester do have a range of large plates on the menu as well, in case smaller options aren’t your bag. Or you could even have a sharer from the Robata Grill. Whichever tickles your fancy really.

Click here to explore the full Australasia Menu

To round off our meal we went for desserts. You know, just to see what they were like…

You can choose a bento style dessert box which appears to be akin to the one served at Sunset by Australasia. Or there are a range of other options to choose from.

The Mango soufflé was recommended. But being a sucker for something weirder I went for the Saffron poached pear, basil, strawberry and soya vanilla ice cream.

dessert australasia

The ice cream on the dessert was absolutely delicious. I would have been satisfied with just this to be honest. It seemed that the pear needed a touch longer to poach, or to be slightly riper. The flavour was all there but it was a little to hard to get through with a fork and spoon. I also feel like the basil on the strawberries was a little too much like pesto and personally, I would have preferred a tangy balsamic drizzle to finish them. But that’s personal preference I suppose!

What are the overall prices like at Australasia Manchester?

Prices are more high-end, but you do get the service and quality of food expected with that.

It’s definitely a restaurant for special occasions and events, rather than a quick lunch in the city. Which actually makes it all that more amazing when you do go really.

Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Birthdays and Baby Showers would all be ideal. And the larger the party the more small plates you can order to share between you *wink*.

If you are looking to try a flavour of Australasia for a more limited budget than their a la carte menu, then they do actually have a lunch only menu. This includes Bento boxes with a variety of treats in (prices vary from £15 – £45), or noodle dishes for around £13 each. Take a look at that online > here.

Gifted meal