Set below Manchester’s Deansgate is a gastronomical gold mine, as you descend the stairs inside the small glass pyramid you have no idea what to expect. Situated right next to the Armani store Australasia is a gourmet restaurant with a super stylish interior, a phenomenal menu inspired by traditional Australian and Asian dishes, mind blowing cocktails, friendly and efficient staff not afraid to use their initiative and with a lunch menu offering 2courses from as little as £11 there really is no reason not to try it! Fabulous Times Food contributor Gwyneth of Vintage Afternoon Teas and I met up in Manchester to sample Australasia’s finest culinary delights.
Interior: Australasia’s architecture and interior design is ever bit as impressive as the food. Michelle Derbyshire and Living Ventures in-house designer Edwin Pickett worked on the architecture and design successfully creating a beautiful light and airy space from a naturally dark, underground premises. Taking influences from Australia with ghost wood trees and Slimbrick cladding on the walls, the concrete stairs flanked in back lit Amberlite leading down to the restaurant give a feeling of almost walking through the core of the earth. As you enter the restaurant your breath is taken away by the light, spacious, stylish and warm, friendly atmosphere. I particularly loved the bronze birdcages used to house plants in the ladies toilets.
Food: Australasia offer a very reasonably priced lunch menu starting at 2courses for £11 and boy is it worth every penny! Described as ‘Modern Australian cuisine combining Pacific Rim flavours underpinned by European cooking tradition, a blend of Indonesian, Southeast Asian influences and Australia’s strong ties with Japan’ the array of food on the menu is staggering with dishes ranging from classic sushi, exquisite fresh fish dishes to rump steak. When ordering, your server will go through the menu offering two styles of ordering from the traditional selecting one starter and a main or you can ‘go local’ choosing an array of smaller dishes designed for sharing. We opted to ‘go local’ primarily because all the dishes sounded so good we couldn’t decide which to choose and also so we could sample a wider variety. We tried a number of smaller dishes and would strongly recommend ordering the Black Cod roasted in Hoba Leaf (£21.50), the cod if so fresh and perfectly roasted it melts in your mouth and can only be described as mind blowing! I’d also suggest trying the Popcorn Tempura (£5) and the Smoked Duck Dragon Roll.
Cocktails + Late Lounge: If you’re looking for a chic, civilised and stylish alternative to traipsing around the regular Manchester pubs and clubs after 11pm the restaurant transforms into a Late Lounge until 1am on Thursday and 3am Friday/Saturday. With regular guest DJ’s you can sit back, relax, chat and sip come darn fine cocktails. I sipped the Pineapple, Chili & Lemongrass non-alcoholic cocktail (£4) which was Heaven sent, a perfectly mixed, sublime, mouthwatering combination of subtle flavours, it may just be my new favourite drink. Bookings are strongly recommended to guarantee entry to the Late Lounge. Purchase of a Late Lounge Pre Order guarantees your table for as long as you want it. You can reserve a table by calling 0161 831 0288.
Following our meal we ordered coffee and sat chatting about life, ambitions, inspirations and everything in between. I fancied a biscuit with my coffee and didn’t want to commit to eating a full desert. I was cheeky enough too ask for a biscuit and was offered some smarties instead, now for any of you that know my love of smarties you’ll know that this small gesture confirmed my new love affair with Australasia!
Australasia really does have it all, varied and delicious food, relaxed low key ambience, undeniably stylish interior, beautiful friendly and efficient staff offering a real touch of class in the heart of Manchester’s Spinningfields district. Visit Australasia- 1 The Avenue, Spinningfields, Manchester M3 3AP
‘One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating’ -Luciano Pavarotti
(The Fabulous Times was a guest of Australasia– Special thank you to Gill & Gwyneth for a fabulous day)