When I heard that fine dining restaurant Australasia, in Manchester’s Spinningfield, has a fantastic set lunch menu available Mon-Fri until 4.30, I knew had to try it out. I absolutely love this restaurant for many reasons, but I’ll start with just one of them: it’s a stylish slice of modern Australia, and it’s actually located down under.
By that, I mean underground, where you’ll see it’s glass encased entrance peeking out on Deansgate, just where Spinningfields starts. The place offers Pacific Rim flavours underpinned by European cooking tradition, so you get a blend of Indonesian and Southeast Asian influences, along with Australia’s strong ties with Japanese cuisine, giving an extensive food offering.
I’ve dined here before a long while back, and enjoyed how they offer various small plates covering off the tastes and cuisines as mentioned above. So if you dine here with friends/family, you can have a real ‘mix and match’ style eating experience. Almost like an Asian influenced tapas.
The other reason I can’t get enough of Australasia is due to it’s stunning interior. You’ll notice it takes on a classic and minimal feel, with an ultra modern vibe with its cream/beige/neutral colour theme, metal handing lights, and tucked away cosy booths.
And take a look at these sassy cocktails…
I sipped away on this Rose and Lychee Martini, which is a delicious, sweet gin based cocktail. I actually spied a cocktail on their huuuge menu called Banana Pancakes, filled with Absolut Vanilla, banana liqueur and coconut cream blended with milk, cream and fresh banana, and I literally need to try it. I decided not to on this occasion as it’s quite dessert like, but next time I visit, that’s my order right there!
The cocktails are presented beautifully in luxury glasses, and you’re literally spoilt for choice from the menu…
Right, I’m here to share with you the Set Lunch Menu and what it has to offer food-wise, so lets get cracking.
First of all, myself and my guest went for the 4 plate option for £21 each. I can safely say that 4 plates is plenty enough – it’s literally a lot more food than you think, making it great value for four unique dishes with southern Asian influences, and generous portion sizes.
One of my favourites was the Temaki seaweed rolls with salmon and robata beef – the seaweed roll is slightly crunchy with that sweet crisp taste, bulging with fish and meat filling.
Next up was the Futomaki with yellow fin tuna, daikon and avocado – a delightfully presented sushi style roll, with 4 rice filled rolls on the plate. A great one for the fish and sushi lovers!
Now the next one was one of my favourites, although they were actually way more filling than I imagined! These Tempura spiced pork and jasmine rice dumplings were full of Thai flavour – a real kick to these and really tasty. The pork was so soft and combined with the jasmine rice, herbs and spices…
Now my guest went for the option below, which isn’t one I would pick myself. Why? I guess I just never opt for a broth based meal option, a little like I never order salads and soups.
However, when the Dashi broth with tofu, noodle and spring onion arrived and I noticed it was packed with a large serving of noodles and it smelt incredible, I saw why it made a decent choice. Plus, I love Tofu, and the Tofu in this broth stayed firm but soft to eat, and went really well with the Japanese style broth.
Bringing a little veggie option to the table was the array of Tempura vegetables, which included everything from peppers to broccoli, coated in a crispy tempura better. 10/10 for presentation, as this came balanced up in a tower like form, read to eat.
Satisfying my love for Tofu came the Salt and pepper tofu with rice crackers and cucumber salad – and yes, that huge rice cracker was just as crispy and crunchy as it looked! Again, the tofu was cooked to perfection, and combined with the crackers and the salad, gave it a real fresh taste.
Each dish really did surprise me with how filling they actually were! Again, presentation was on top form…
This next one was up there with my favourites, and as I’m not a huuuge meat lover, I was surprised just how much I thoroughly enjoyed the Sticky pork with Vietnamese salad and smashed peanuts . The crushed up peanuts went really well with the strips of tasteful stick pork. Full of flavour, lovely soft texture, and a real unique taste.
I feel like I keep saying every dish was my favourite, but maybe that’s because they were all so damn good! So this one below was definitely one of the best, mainly because I love a bit of tasty shredded duck, encased in a ‘fuku’ – a soft bao style bun.
The Roasted duck fuku with sriracha, bean sprouts and coriander came as a mini ‘slider’ almost, packed with jaw drooling duck, and a real kick of coriander. The bun resembles a steamed soft bun, originating from china, and make such good fluffy, pillow-like bread alternative.
If you’re looking for a more luxury dining experience during your lunchtime, yet don’t want to spend an excessive amount of money, yet still enjoy great service, incredible food, and all round great value, I can’t recommend Australasia’s set lunch menu enough.
You don’t have to have the 4 options for £21 like we did, because believe me it’s a lot more food than you think. But, because the menu choices are so brilliant, you might find you just gotta go for it..