Restaurant review - Sunset by Australasia, Manchester

Premium Bento Box

Premium Bento Box - Credit: Archant

Don’t wait for the summer to enjoy the Asian flavours of Sunset by Australasia in Manchester’s Spinningfields.

Gorgeous bar at Sunset Australasia

Gorgeous bar at Sunset Australasia - Credit: Archant

My partner always wants to eat Asian food. He loves plates of dim sum with a side helping of rude service and those Japanese restaurants where they slice the top off a bottle of fizz with a samurai sword. Naturally I was a little fearful that Sunset, the chi-chi casual dining offshoot of Australasia in Spinningfields, would cause him to have a mini strop.

The ambience of Sunset by Australasia is more LA than Osaka, with its gorgeous blush-hued interior and sparkly terrace.

Asian fusion dishes are on the menu and they are as pretty to gaze upon as the restaurant’s lovely chandeliers. There isn’t a samurai sword in sight and the service from our dapper waiter is excellent.

It’s apparently one of the most instagrammed restaurants in Manchester...but don’t let that put you off. It’s definitely not style over substance.

Dessert bento at Sunset Australasia

Dessert bento at Sunset Australasia - Credit: Archant

My partner chose Sashimi to start, £11.50; lovely fresh scallop, salmon, tuna and a sprightly garnish of mooli. We were really impressed by the wasabi which was grated at the table. Apparently the act of freshly grating creates a chemical reaction which in turn produces the heat, without any nasty harshness.

I chose popcorn tempura, £5. They were addictively yummy but they were snacks, not starters, so I’d ordered wrongly.

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This is the place to sip cocktails and champagne, so we did. I chose a glass of Billecart Salmon Brut Rose, £15, and he enjoyed a fragrant Lavender Negroni, £10.

The big attraction here on the menu are the bento boxes, which come in three different varieties, signature mixed, premium mixed and vegan. Basically these are boxes divided into nine or 15 spaces, each occupied by delicious morsels. But if it that makes it sound like you might be hungry afterwards, trust me, you won’t. Honestly, the nine are big enough for one.

The terrace at Sunset

The terrace at Sunset - Credit: Archant

While you wait for the box to arrive, a slightly spicy miso soup is served, packed with spring onions, noodles and lettuce.

I chose a trendy vegan box, £15, which included California rolls vegetable tempura with deep fried enoki mushrooms and broccoli. There’s tofu stuffed with steamed wild rice and coconut, wilted spinach, a seaweed salad, rainbow salad, and yum yum squares which is deep-fried sushi rice with avocado puree on the top.

As part of the premium bento box, £25, my other half was wowed by the classic black cod and slow braised short ribbed beef over which a broth is poured at the table. We should probably have shared a dessert bento box. They are £8 per person, a mix of treats such as macarons, and coconut cake. It defeated us but it’s so Insta-pretty it’s well worth the calories.

Sunset by Australasia, 1 The Avenue, Manchester, M3 3AP 0161 831 0288

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