Easyjet Traveller Article
England's second city hasn't had a restaurant that could compete with the rest of the UK's finest for some time, but new arrival Australasia could have the makings of such a heavyweight.
Words by Ruth Allen
Australasia's fusion-inspired menu is pulled off with aplomb by a team trained by former Australian chef of the year, Paul Greening. Highlights include pork belly and pineapple curry, and pan-fried foie gras with mango and almonds. Given Greening's Pacific Rim background, the sweet meets sour flavours are a natural fit for the chef, while the presentation is equally as impressive.
Tasmanian king fish, yellow-fin tuna and Loch Duart salmon sashimi, for example, sit on a bed of edible flowers, while the signature soufflé comes with a delicate mango soup in a syringe to "inject" over the dish yourself. Prioritising flavour over bombast, the décor has a similar, subtle allure. In a subterranean cavern, beach and clay tones whisper rather than shout, while driftwood and lanterns create a relaxed feel. To drink, the rose and lychee martini is a romantic twist on the cosmopolitan, while the wine list wades in on an iPad, complete with extensive tasting notes and prices that soar over the £1,000 mark for the celebrated likes of Château Latour 2000.
Already a favourite among the city's football and film glitterati, Australasia looks set to enter the country's top tier. 1 The Avenue, Spinningfields, tel: +44 (0)161 831 0288
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.
With an extension of Australasia is Grand Pacific - a contemporary colonial oasis in the heart of Spinningfields. Combining modern Australian cuisine and Pacific Rim flavours with a wealth of delicious cocktails, Grand Pacific offers a lighter side of the Australasia experience . With a canopied outdoor garden, Grand Pacific is a refreshing retreat from the bustle of the city.