Rather ironically, the very second I sat down to write this blog post, the heavens opened. I’m not being dramatic here either. I mean really, truly lashing it down; royally teaming cats and dogs (I wish).
The reason this is so ironic isn’t because it’s August and therefore still summer in the UK – let’s face it, we’re used to that – but because this blog post is dedicated to somewhere called Sunset where I recently contracted a mildly sunburnt forehead and sipped cocktails on the terrace on a toasty Saturday afternoon.
Sunset is one of the newest additions to the Manchester food and drink scene and comes from the celebrated brains behind Australasia. Australasia is an up-market eatery that combines flavours from Australia, Japan and Indonesia (hence the name) and sits on sub-ground-levels beneath the city centre Armani store (where else?!)
If Australasia is the smouldering older sister who has experience, sex appeal and street cred on her side, Sunset by Australasia is the zealous younger sister whose peppiness, vibrancy and rose-tinted perspective provides a sweet balancing act. It’s something new for Man-chester, perhaps only possibly likened to the candy-coloured glitz and glamour of some-where like Neighbourhood and plenty – including me – are excited about it.
The venue itself really is a site to behold, in all its bubblegum glory. With a stunning floral wall, en vogue neon lighting, pink & white colour palette and trendy gold accents (cutlery included), Sunset is a Pinterest lover’s dream. From the upholstered pink suede seating right down to the candy-striped floor, this place has fast become the hottest new hangout in Manchester – even if just for the uber Instagrammable backdrop.
For anybody feeling sceptical on account of Sunset’s niche millennial style, hold onto your hats because I can guarantee the substance will make you do a sharp one-eighty. Look past the blush pink façade and beyond the ostentatious surface and what we have here is one seriously credible bar and eatery serving food along the same lines as its subterranean sib-ling.
The plates at Sunset are smaller than down under in Australasia but then that’s the desired premise here – grab a bite while you prop up the bar from a small but luxurious selection. We went for the 9-piece Signature Mixed Bento Box (£17.50) and the 15-piece Premium Mixed Bento (£40) which both came with a bowl of complimentary Miso Soup to start.
The bento boxes appeared and were as visually striking as the surroundings – stunning, in fact – and each and every morsel packed in there was as sophisticated and delicious as the last. There was nothing either of us could find fault with but some of our personal highlights included the Yum Yum Rice Squares, Braised Shirt Rib Beef Broth, Black Cod, Chicken Skewer Bowl and Seared Scallops with Mango Salad.
We were equally enamoured with the gorgeous Dessert Bento Selection (£8pp) which was sumptuous, indulgent and perfectly delicate in equal measures. Top picks from the plethora of miniature puddings were the Coconut Friandes (only my second experience of friandes), the Chocolate & Peanut Dome and the Rose & Coconut Panacotta crowned with a bitesize shard of sesame cracker. Just perfect.
If you’re around the Spinningfields area or just looking for somewhere a little out of the ordinary with a unique cocktail menu, Sunset certainly meets those requirements too. I’m typically seduced by a good ‘Gindex’ like the one round the corner at Impossible or a dessert cocktail like Gusto’s Salted Caramel Russian but something drew me to Sunset’s Green Apple Martini and well, it was lust at first lick.
If a lime green liquid that tastes just like sour apple bonbons ain’t your bag, I believe Sunset is fast becoming famed for its Frozen Pornstar Martini – complete with mandatory shot glass of Prosecco. Whatever you go for here, I’m pretty confident in saying you’ll leave making all the same excuses I’ve been engineering just to head back there as soon as humanly possible.
Checkout the Sunset by Australasia menu while you’re here!
I was very kindly invited to review Sunset by Australasia but all words, photographs, opinions, teeth, hair, boobs and nails are my very own.