I have heard about Australasia as one of Manchester’s fine dining experience and was excited to be trying their new menu. We were all sat outside on the Terrace with plenty of heated lamps to keep us warm on what was a cool evening. Australasia, as the name suggests, serves food with an Australian and Asian spin. With drinks and canapé versions of the food throughout the evening, I will fill you in with what I was able to try. *
The Terrace is a gorgeous area to sit in with comfortable seating, plants hanging on rope planters and plenty of heated lamps to keep you warm should the weather take a turn for the worst. Australasia does a good job of making you feel like you’re not sat in the concrete world of Spinningfields. I imagine having High Tea (£25!) sat here in Summer would be amazing.
A signature cocktail would set you back £9 a glass, certainly not the cheapest Manchester has to offer; they are fairly generous with the alcohol though.
- Australasia Spritz on arrival. This contains rose liqueur, plum sake, lemon juice, plum bitters and sparkling rosé. Sweet and fairly easy to drink.
- Rattlesnake. El Contains Jimador Blanco, lime juice, chilli gomme, egg white and coconut and grapefruit foam. This tasted almost like a key lime pie. I didn’t have too much of this as I can’t really consume grapefruit.
- Tropical Punch. Goslings Black Seal, Passoa, pink guava purée, mango juice, lime and gomme This was probably my favourite drink of the evening. It combines two of my favourite fruits, guava and mango,
- Beer Lao. A light rice beer which would go well with the Asian inspired dishes served here.
- Red Wine. Can’t remember which one, if I’m honest! Sorry!
- Melon & Coconut Sour – El Dorado 5yr, Midori, coconut syrup, lime juice and pineapple purée. This one is good if you like sours. Very fruity, but doesn’t quite top the Tropical Punch in my mind.
- The Wax Seal. Bulleit Bourbon, Belsazar Red, plum sake, bitters, port and water. Aged in a old Bulleit barrel from Kentucky. It’s good bourbon, drink it slowly.
We were served canapé versions of food from the main menu, although these can be hard to flag down.
King oyster mushrooms
King oyster mushrooms with wakame pressed potato. I tried the canapé and it was moreish. The layers were just fun to eat. As a canape, it was served with a spicy dip. Seeing the full dish on the right, it looks like you get a decent portion. This costs £13.50.
Oyster with Nam-jin
I’ve been informed that to properly have oyster, you’re supposed to down it and not chew. I’ve apparently been doing it wrong the one other time I’ve had oysters, so I made sure not to do this with this one. The Nam-jin sauce is a Korean spicy sauce which tastes a bit sour. This went well with the oyster as it travelled down, giving a nice warm sensation. One of these costs £2.50.
Octopus with squid ink. The octopus had a nice bite without the chewiness experienced from bad cooking. As a canapé, this was served skewered with a couple of spring onions. As seen in the photo of the full dish, it is served with cherry sauce as well as the squid ink. This costs £11.50.
Vegetarian nigiri comprising of mushroom, red pepper, avocado and mango. I didn’t get to try all of these, but the mango one was quite nice. The rice held together well in these nigiri rounds. This is £6.75.
Citrus cured tuna
The tuna was served with a mango salsa and cashew nut purée. I really liked this dish as the citrus and mango worked well with the flavour of the tuna; the cashew added a nice crunch. This is £8.50.
Overall, it’s quite hard to review a dish based on the canapé as you’re not getting the same balance of flavours. What I had was quite nice. The staff can be hard to grab, as I was trying to flag down dishes which I’ve not tried; this may be a result of the fact that this was an event as opposed to everyday service.
Would visit again?
Perhaps for a special treat. The cost of the plates means I would not visit casually.
Address: 1, The Avenue, Manchester M3 3AP
Have you tried Australasia before? What are your thoughts on fine dining?
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*I was invited to Australasia and did not have to pay for my food or drink on the evening. This did not affect my opinion of the evening.