Imagine if you will, historic buildings set against a backdrop of glass architecture.
Take comfort in the knowledge that what you now see is not a building emerging from the pavement, but a modern triangular glass structure covering the very entrance leading to down under…. a long staircase conceals what I am about to reveal …
A cavernous, warm cream and rustic environment, cleverly disguising the lack of windows underground awaits.
At one end a modern trendy bar area, adjacent to the house DJ and guest services where youâ€™re welcomed with a warm inviting smile. Whilst at the other is a glass enclosure to the kitchen and brigade.
I’d like to tell you about B our delightful and helpful waitress who is dressed in denims and trainers which is the house attire that adds to the casual feel of the restaurant.
In fact B surprised us as she’s from Poland and not from down under at all. But as she was bubbly, full of descriptive and knowledgeable guidance, the lack of an Aussie or Asian accented person would have been lost on us anyway.
We were handed a cardboard drinks menu and an iPad .. showing various menus.
This place has an air about it .. clean, warm and trendy, evoking a certain quality only found on a millionaires yacht. It’s cosy, very comfy, original in its style and attracting celebrities.
It’s funny really because whilst the sushi, steaks and cocktails, as you’e about to discover, are fabulous, Australasia is a place to be seen, but hidden down under Spinningfields in Manchester.
We arrived for a 7pm booking.. tables were half empty, lighting was raised and music was relatively low. As the evening progressed the lighting subtly reduced, the tables gradually became occupied … impressive for a Monday evening and the music volume increased.
My wife started our evening with ‘The Australiasian Pornstar’ .. according to ‘B’ an Australasia house cocktail made from Belvedere, lychee liqueur, lemon juice, mango juice, vanilla syrup, fresh passion fruit and a shot of sparkling chardonnay priced at £10. I can tell you my wife had a cheeky smile on her face.
I on the other hand had a non alcoholic refreshing cocktail with lychee juice because I was driving.
I can tell you that the iPad really helped to see what the drinks look like.
‘B’ was brilliant at guiding us through the extensive selection of dishes. You would be mistaken, as I was, to think that this restaurant is focused on an Australian theme… The clue in actual fact is in the name ‘Austral .. Asia’.
The menu is not like a regular run of the mill restaurant. Here you could try a sort of tapas style/sushi mix of starters covering every taste or try as we did some of the small plates to start.
Highly recommended by ‘B’ were the BBQ Lamb cutlets, seared teriyaki beef with sweet soy and spring onion and a whole host of dishes to suit every taste for preferences of meat, poultry, seafood and vegetarians.
And we had the Black Cod roasted in hobo leaf too to start, which simply melted in the mouth.
Here at Australasia they offer the best rib eye steaks you could ever wish for, and certainly from what I saw coming from the kitchen this is very very popular.
If I was to be completely honest, Australasia is a night out, certainly not a place to drop in for a quick bite. Don’t be in a rush as you’d miss out on the entire experience here….
We had the Roast Halibut with a curried sauce at £27 which was simply delicious with the roasted baby aubergine with miso mustard and bonito flakes! This was one of our sides. Original and full of flavour priced at just £5.
You know that feeling when you simply are bursting … you know your full and should simply stop eating … I have to confess … we did’t. We just couldn’t resist the deserts especially when ‘B’ advised that the chocolate souffleÌ with raspberry sorbet and chocolate sauce would take about 20 mins… thank goodness! It gave us time to relax and digest our meal.
We also chose the passionfruit cheesecake, but whilst it looked good, sadly I felt it was too sugary after such a great meal.
Probably our fault as we were too full.
Overall Australasia gets a big thumbs up from me. It’s a stunning underground location in the heart of Manchester and Spinningfields, that creatively makes its presence known by the quirky entrance on Deansgate near the John Rylands Library.
When I go back .. and I will, I think I’ll try the sushi for something different… or then again from the Robata Grill … or what about the Californian Rolls… gosh so much to choose from!
Don’t wait too long to try out Australasia if you’ve never been … it’s really impressive and moderately priced.
You can check out their website here