One of Manchester’s most well-known and loved restaurants, Australasia, has introduced a variety of new and inventive dishes to update their menu for the summer. It didn’t take much convincing to get us there to check out some of the new additions, as we visited last week to check them out and pick our new favourites.
The pan-asian restaurant which sits in the heart of Manchester’s Spinningfields, boasts an exciting cocktail menu, which was well needed after a killer week at work. Our waiter happily chatted us through the new food menu as we mulled over the cocktail menu, before ordering an Australasia classic – the Love You Long Time, with Bacardi Carta Blanca, lime, passion fruit and Thai basil, served with a jolly mini pink umbrella to really bring out the holiday feels.
The menu is split out into small and large dishes, with the option to order in a traditional way with a small starter style dish, followed by a large main dish, or simply go ‘local’ and share a load of small plates between you, we opted for the latter as we wanted to try everything.
First up, we opted to try some of the restaurant’s quality sushi offering, and started with a selection of new California Rolls. New dishes include tuna blossom, chilli and cream cheese, mango, avocado & broccoli and rainbow rolls. We opted to try the duck California roll as well as the mango, avocado & broccoli rolls, with a selection of vegetable sushi, served with pickled ginger. The sushi was elegantly decorated but definitely not style over substance, with all of the flavours shining through.
The food was served in waves, and once the sushi had all been devoured, our prawn tempura and citrus cured tuna arrived swiftly afterwards. The delicately sliced tuna was served with a fruity mango salsa with cashew nuts, with a great crunch against the melt in the mouth fish. As well as the classic prawn tempura, Australasia has introduced an all new aubergine and avocado tempura to the menu this time around which is sure to be a new favourite.
We also opted to order a couple of small dishes from the Robata grill; the sweet potato was a standout winner, showing how, when cooked well – what could have easily been a vegetable side dish – becomes one of the highlights of the meal. We also ordered the seared teriyaki beef, served soft and pink with sweet soy and spring onion, and the pork wontons.
The final dish we opted for was the black cod roasted in hoba leaf, upon recommendation from our waiter as one of Australasia’s signature dishes. The fish was beautiful and flaky, no wonder it’s remained on the menu since the restaurant opened, perfectly cooked, with just a hint of sweetness.
Luckily I have a different stomach for sweet things vs savoury, so we managed to squeeze in a dessert and ordered the chocolate dome with peanut, salted caramel, and blackberries. The dome was served whole, before the hot salted caramel was poured over the dome causing it to melt and crack, revealing the ice cream inside. The restaurant’s new menu now includes some tasty sounding desserts including a coconut cheesecake mouse, or mango soufflé, so make sure you end your meal on a sweet note.
We finished up our meal early Thursday evening as the venue steadily got busier and the DJ started playing chill-out tunes to signify the start of the weekend, with an influx of groups of friends and couples on date nights. It’s easy to see why Australasia keeps hold of it’s place as one of Manchester’s top food destinations for dinner and drinks.