We first visited Australasia in Manchester about five years ago, taking a full greedy family trip to explore the delights of this underground gem, tucked away beneath the Spinningfields business district. It was unlike anywhere we’d been in Manchester and the pan-asian food was as spectacular as the stunning decor. I’ve returned time and again since then and it is always reliably excellent. It all feels rather lavish and special, but if you just want to dip a toe in to the wonderful world of Australasia, the set lunch menu is the perfect way to do so.
I was recently invited to sample the lunch menu, which allows you to choose 2, 3 or 4 dishes per person, which you can share between you tapas-style. I sipped on a cocktail while browsing the menu, but could have frankly chosen any of the fish and veggie dishes available. The food is served as and when it’s ready, making for a relaxing grazing experience.
The futomaki with yellow fin tuna, daikon and avocado arrived first and was a fresh, light start to the meal, as was the poke-style tuna, served ice-cold and full of flavour.
On the veggie front, I enjoyed vegetable tempura, and salt and pepper tofu with rice crackers and cucumber salad. The tofu was a real highlight and is something that can be tricky to get right at home, but it was so delicious even my carnivore date was tucking in!
My favourite dish of the day was red fish curry with sticky jasmine rice. The small plates are a great idea so that you can try different things, but I really wish I’d had a full main course-sized portion of this particular delight, as I would have polished off the lot!
We had chosen four dishes each and that was certainly enough for a hearty lunch, but when I saw the dessert menu I just couldn’t resist. I had the chocolate dome with peanut, salted caramel and blackberries. There was a fun bit of theatre involved when our waiter poured the hot caramel sauce over the perfect chocolate sphere, revealing all sorts of yummy treats inside. This indulgent pudding was a spectacular end to our meal.
Thank you to Australasia for inviting us to enjoy the lunch menu. It is available Monday to Friday until 5pm and prices are: 2 dishes for £12, 3 for £16 and 4 for £21.