Discover & Escape Review Australasia
What to expect:
Accessed via a glistening Louvre-like pyramid that protrudes unexpectedly out of the ground on Deansgate, Australasia exists as a vast subterranean paradise in which Pacific Rim and Japanese flavours are effortlessly united with a touch of Aussie flair.
Whitewashed brickwork and low-hanging overhead lights are juxtaposed by almost rustic elements (think natural-hued wicker seating and foliage-free trees), creating an airy, ultra-modern ambiance that exudes sophistication.
The menu brings together an impressive selection of sushi and sashimi, imaginative tapas-sized small plates and more substantial yet equally sublime main dishes.
Reserve a table in one of the semi-private booths and opt for the tantalizing hand dived scallops with spicy honey glazed pork (a must-try) and the cannon of lamb - prepare to be delighted.
Making our way down the staircase, we were thoroughly impressed that despite existing several feet below street level, Australasia is flooded with light and refreshingly spacious.
The well-informed hosts provided a warm welcome and lead us to our luxurious booth before guiding us through the terrific menu. Choosing to ‘go local', we plumped for an array of small dishes including the black cod roasted in hoba leaf and a couple of larger plates, namely the pot-roasted lobster with kaffir lime and the tender spicy chicken skewers... Each item arrived immaculately presented and tasted just as good as it looked.
Tempted by the charismatic staff, we shunned the wine list (presented neatly on an iPad) for an expertly crafted cocktail or two and boy are we glad we did. The sweet yet punchy kiwi and honey crush really hit the spot and we couldn't fault the delicate hibiscus martini.
The Poached rhubarb and ginger crumble with ginger ice cream which we chose for dessert possessed the ideal tangy:sweet ratio and ended the evening perfectly.
Take me there:
A go-to spot for mouth-watering, diverse cuisine with adeptly mixed cocktails to boot.
12.00pm to 12.00am
A menu of Pacific Rim flavours underpinned by European cooking tradition, an exotic blend of Indonesian and Southeast Asian influences. Australia's strong ties with Japan also help determine taste and style.