Grand Pacific opened up on the site of the old Reform Club on King Street in Manchester. The menu alluded to East Asian cuisine with a Western twist. I went to the launch party, taking my friend with me for the evening.*
Grand Pacific Interior
The interior kept much of its architecture with brilliant tall windows and a grand staircase leading you from the entrance to the bar and restaurant area. The interior is very dark with black walls, light furnishings, palm trees and marble and gold detailing. It’s very colonial, which in itself is an odd theme; I have mixed feelings given the fact that the nature of colonialism isn’t exactly pleasant. Having said that, I do like the pineapple theme running through the menu and you can even get a cocktail served in a pineapple shaped glass. I was also impressed that the napkins were delicately embroidered with the restaurant’s initials.
We waited at the bar until our table was ready. My friend ordered a glass of prosecco and I ordered an Early Grey Sling, the latter comprising Tanqueray, Cointreau, lemon juice, apple juice, loose leaf Earl Grey & ginger ale. I quite enjoyed this cocktail, although £9 was rather steep. Having finished this during the course of the meal, I then proceeded to order a lychee and mint (lychee juice, mint, lemon juice, sugar & soda) whilst my friend ordered a Sauvignon Blanc (£6) and then a glass of Pinot Grigio; she liked all her drinks. I found the lychee and mint too sweet. Perhaps too much sugar?
We both opted for the asparagus after much deliberating. Usually, we dislike ordering the same thing but I told my friend that you don’t want to regret not getting what you actually wanted! The asparagus still had its beautiful green colour, which was a good sign; they still had a bite to them. The crispy egg was an egg coated in a thin batter with sesame seeds and upon cutting into it, revealed a gooey yellow yolk. The yuzu hollandaise complimented everything, bringing a nice bit of acidity to the plate. We both enjoyed this dish immensely.
Lamb massaman curry
My friend ordered the lamb massaman curry, as it’s her favourite curry. We were both surprised at the presentation of the dish with each part being contained in its own bowl as opposed to a traditional massaman where everything is mixed together. My friend told me that the lamb was tender and the flavours of the curry were spot on. The rice and potatoes were awesome, but the bread wasn’t anything to remember. I tried a bit of each and agree with her. My favourite part is actually the rice as they have seasoned it (I’m not sure what) and it was delicious on its own. I’m not sure why it’s called forbidden rice and indeed there is some confusion as traditional black rice is also known as forbidden rice. The bread was just bland and did not have the smokiness a good tandoor would have added.
Asian spiced duck cottage pie
I went for the Asian spiced duck cottage pie as I felt this represented me perfectly. Since I grew up in Northern Ireland, I love potatoes, but I am also ethnically Chinese and this dish seemed to combine those two parts of me in one plate! The cottage pie was really nice, the Asian spiced duck underneath was nicely spiced (I think it was cinnamon and star anise), and the potato on top creamy and grilled well. The pork crackling was a little hard to find… I think they were on top of the potato.
The soured onions offered a nice contrast to the cottage pie, but I felt maybe one pickle was a little lonesome and perhaps adding another pickle would make for a more rounded dish. The portion of the cottage pie I felt was fairly hefty, although that could be my small stomach talking. Perhaps a slightly smaller portion?
No meal is complete without dessert (at least to me!), so I ordered the carpaccio as a nice refreshing palate cleanser to the evening, The carpaccio was amazing, I pretty much loved everything about this dessert and would eagerly order this again without hesitation if I wasn’t nosy about the other offerings! The coconut ice cream complemented the pineapple and the sesame twills added a nice crunch.
Overall rating and comments
7/10, -1 for expensive cocktails, -1 for overly sweet lychee and mint drink, 0.5 for boring bread with the massaman curry, -0.5 for my own inner conflict about a colonial theme. Overall, I did enjoy my evening and I need to shout out to Sarah, who was our lovely waitress fo the evening. She was amazing and answered any questions I had about the food prior to ordering. She was also attentive without being overbearing. There is plenty to choose from at Grand Pacific, although vegetarians may struggle.
Would visit again?
I think for special occasions only, given the price point of this place.
Address: 50 Spring Gardens, Manchester M2 1EN
What do you think of Grand Pacific? Does the menu interest you?
Leave a comment below!
*I was invited to the Grand Pacific launch party and did not have to pay for my meal, although I did pay for all my drinks. This did not affect my opinion of this review.