Opening: Sunset by Australasia, Manchester

It’s still summer – despite what the weather forecast and grey skies outside are telling me – and even though I’m quietly eyeing the big snuggly hoodie on the back of the door which is looking at me with such warmth, I’m finding it hard to resist. 

Which is probably why most of what I’m writing this week is laden with summery vibes. I’m hoping a little colour, a brightness, a little sweetness will warm us all up a bit. 

First on the list for this week is Sunset – the terrace space (once known as Grand Pacific) that forms part of Australasia, has had a little revamp and in it’s place is Instagram heaven. I mean, just look at it. 

It’s a blush pink, rose gold and flat lay delight. In truth, it’s hard to take a bad photo – especially with the contrast between the soft tones of the terrace and the bright lush green of the plants surrounding it. It’s like one of those pretty online invitations you get for an event.

So it’s a bit of a stunner. What about the food and drink?

My date and I were visiting for the afternoon tea – two courses of food, both savoury and sweet, and traditional tea, or if you’re going a little boozy, a glass of Mirabeau Pure Rose (soft and rounded with lots of peachy notes) or a Frozen Sunset Porn Star (think Porn Star Martini slushy). 

Both sets of dishes arrive in a giant Bento box – and it’s hard not to get a little snap happy when they look this good:

 

And does it taste as good as it looks? The sushi was as I’d expect from Australasia, good quality fresh, though one of my favourite elements were probably the broth which comes in a Japanese style kettle. The meaty broth was poured into the bowl with fresh vegetables and dried enokitake mushrooms, it was a dainty bowl of comfort food. The fried potato cake wowed my date, who loved the soft warm spiced potato covered in panko breadcrumbs and laced with Kewpie mayonnaise and fresh chilli.

All that said, there were some weaker elements. The noodle salad had lots of texture, but felt very bland compared to the other dishes, and the duck rolls weren’t quite as punchy as I’d have hoped for from Australasia. Given it has newly opened and it was a very busy afternoon, I’m putting this down to an off day. 

Meanwhile, onto the dessert course. 

Fresh strawberry tarts, lime and mango macarons, coconut frangipane, scones with cream and jam, and frozen chocolate dessert, topped with hot salted caramel sauce. I didn’t even mind so much when drops of the latter splattered from my spoon onto my top. And it more than made up for the dishes that didn’t quite hit the right note in the savoury box. 

Overall, the space looks stunning and the food isn’t so shabby either. At £22.50 for the Afternoon tea without the booze, and just £27.50 for the boozier version, it’s a pretty tasty antidote to the grey skies outside. 

 

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