Fabulously Inspired Fusion at Australasia
The chic and achingly trendy streets of Deans gate in Manchester seem to have a new contender when it comes to cool places to dine. The unassuming glass pyramid placed next to the Armani Shop is a blink-and-you-may-miss-it feature, but go down the sweeping stairs and you will find a basement venue that pulls out all the stops.
Australasia is the word on everyone's lips with its pan pacific style, signature cocktails and dreamy shabby chic space filled to the brim with beautiful people. Always busy and ever bustling, it seems everyone wants to try to get their foot in the door at Australasia.
From the second you step foot inside, you are greeted with a host of suave servers, twinkling lights, carved tree branches and platters of colorful sushi being whisked past your eyes.
The innovative design extends to the gorgeous booths fringing the main dining room with an elaborate partition for ultimate privacy. The kitchen gives a hint of being open but is obscured by hanging lights glowing with seasonal cheer; you can peek and peer without the pace of the cooking obstructing the buzzing ambience.
Cocktails are selected through the use of an IPad, a nice touch for those who love to play with technology at the table. The extensive cocktail menu is bright and beautiful boasting signature choices with an elegant Asian twist. The Whisky Smoke brings just a hint of maple syrup to the lips and the Love me Long Time is the right balance of zest and Thai basil to sweeten your taste buds before the real deal.
When in Manchester you may as well do things the Australasian way, with a delectable selection of small plates to share, this is the best way to experience the full flavors of Asian tapas fusion. Plates are whisked out of the kitchen as soon as they are ready and your waiter will be only too glad to recommend the best the chef has to offer.
Diners with a hearty appetite be warned - servings are teeny but this is the perfect excuse to shimmy your way through the entire menu and try at least eight plates between two to get your fill.
A platter of fresh sashimi and sushi is a must to get you started and the light theatrics like crushing fresh wasabi at your table contribute to a sparkling atmosphere. The Loch Duart salmon sashimi is cut beautifully and melts on your tongue in an instant.
The Black Cod roasted in a hoba leaf is the signature dish and flakes away leaving an opaque heart cooked to perfection.
For something a little heavier, try the Japanese curried korokke with its bespoke blend of potato, spices and mozzarella drizzled with something special. The highlight dish has to be the tender morsels of pink seared pigeon served with divinely bright mustard fruits for that hint of kick.
For dessert, the chocolate soufflé is curated there and then bringing a dark and delicious volcano of flavor to the palate for the final flourish.
With the music throbbing, every table animated with diners and the joy of having fresh food whisked to and fro from your table, it is clear that Australasia has hit the nail on the head when it comes to warm pacific flavors and sultry dining in the heart of a wet and windy city.
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.