With its glass prism-shaped entrance bursting up through Spinningfield’s pavement, Australasia literally takes you ‘down under’ to sample its pan-Asian cuisine. It’s one of the only places in town serving dishes inspired by South East Asian, Indonesian and Japanese cooking. Despite being an underground restaurant it's certainly not a gloomy place. The mainly white, ultra-modern decor with its driftwood and soft beige finishings make it easy to forget that you’re seated below the bustle of Spinningfields.
The drinks list is vast - more of a book really - and with five pages of cocktails to choose from it can easily make for a booze-fuelled night of fun. Along with the classics you'll find vaguely Asian-inspired concoctions such as the Wasabi-tini, Golden Monkey and Thai’d Up. You can also browse the impressive, hi-tech wine list on the iPads provided.
The usual starter, main course, dessert route is available but for those wanting to sample a wider range of what’s on offer there’s also a selection of small plates designed for sharing, served to the centre of the table throughout the meal.
From the robata grill – a traditional Japanese style of cooking over charcoal - you can sample options such as grilled mackerel in banana leaves, Szechuan salt and pepper beef skewers and BBQ lamb cutlets, or simply choose from a range of premium steaks cooked to your liking.
Desserts are a must. From simple carrot cake, artisan ice-creams and Black Forest gateaux to roasted quince with yoghurt sorbet and garden buttermilk panna cotta, there’s no shortage of options. The mango soufflé with mango ‘soup’ served teapot-style is particularly good.
1 The Avenue
Average User Rating
3.8 / 5
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My experiences in the past have been hit and miss with Australasia.
From the first time I walked in, I was taken aback that such a light space can be created underground, although I was less impressed with the flim-flammery of the wine list presented on an ipad and the pantomime of the waiter sidling up to the table, grating a root into a bowl and smiling down saying "I guess you guys haven't *seen* fresh wasabi before"
But that was then, and this is now, so of a summer evening, it was a pleasant couple of hours spent tasting some items from their new menu. The tempura vegetables and the monkfish were particularly tasty.
It was a bit too heady a night to have more than one glass of their drinkable house red, so tried the cocktails.
I'll never be one to say "there's hardly any alcohol in this" - however it can be applied to The Wax Seal. It was like being hit over the head with a bottle of Bourbon.
Although in a good way.