Whenever anyone asks me about restaurants in Manchester that I would recommend for quality food and incredible decor, Grand Pacific always pops into my head. Strangely enough, when I’m asked about pretty places in Manchester to go for cocktails with the girls, or date night cocktails, I visualise the stunning bar area that Grand Pacific hosts too.
I guess what I’m trying to say here is that Grand Pacific ticks the boxes for me, pretty much every single time.
When I was recently invited to review the restaurant as they launch into Autumn/Winter, I was super thrilled. I wanted to take my boyfriend – Martin – who actually became my fiance around two hours before we dined at Grand Pacific – because I knew it would make an incredible Saturday night date night.
If you haven’t been to Grand Pacific before, prepare to be wowed by the impeccable attention to detail surrounding the decor and interior. This place is grand, and takes on all elements of a traditional old building, twisting it around to represent a modern, impressive dining space which captures elements of a classic building.
The actual building dates back to 1871 and was previously the Manchester Reform Club. Now, however, this building situated at the top of King St and surrounded by other iconic buildings (such as Hotel Gotham and the former Jamie Oliver restaurant) is now home to this luxurious, oak panel cladded restaurant and bar.
When you arrive up the spiral staircase, you quickly notice the moody, dimly lit lighting and dark wicker chairs. The toilets are also low lit, but it all kind of adds to that mystical, traditional period home vibe I feel when I walk into this place.
We started the evening by exploring the cocktail menu, as this place is known for creating exquisite, work-of-art cocktails, with a special dedicated book full of all concoctions.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of Espresso Martinis, so it’s no wonder I went straight to this delightful drink as my first choice. I have these everywhere I go, and I have to say, the quality and taste can differ at each place. A fabulous one in my eyes is strong, creamy, with a frothy head that remains quite firm as the drink goes on, i.e. doesn’t start to disintegrate into the espresso. The ones mixed up here at Grand Pacific are what I can only describe as awesome – not too sweet but not too strong, with the perfect foam and rich espresso taste. Heaven in a glass!
My partner, Martin, ordered a Light and Stormy cocktail which is a concoction of Havana 7yr, Crème De Pêche, Gosling’s Black Seal Float, Lime & Ginger Beer. As a rum fan, he said this was a pretty incredible drink – and he doesn’t usually go for cocktails!
OK so onto the food. Generally, the food here is what I would describe as Pan Asian, yet it’s slightly themed to offer its own unique culinary style. From dining here and also from taking a sneaky look at other diners plates, it looks as though each dish is created to be beautifully presented, with visual aesthetics in mind, looking just as good as it should taste.
I stated earlier that the cocktails are mini works-of-art, and the same can be said for the starters. I opted for the Duck Gyozas, which came carefully presented as a visually attractive feast. Four gyozas bulging with juicy duck come lined up on a place, giving a strong Asian influence as a small plate dish. Martin went for the Spring Rolls, which came in the finer, paper-thin style coating, holding in succulent pieces of chunky King Prawn, Basil, Spring Onion and Roast Sesame Sauce.
This place definitely gives a nod to Thai flavours, yet with more dressed up dishes and exotic plates. As much I was tempted to try out one of the more culinary dishes, I was drawn in by the sound of the 28 Day Aged British Rib-Eye Steak 10oz, which comes in at £22. 50 with Kimchi, Wasabi Crème Fraîche and Grilled Heart Of Palm.
The photos are quite dark due to poor lighting, but hopefully you can see enough below. The steak was incredibly thick, which I asked to be cooked medium-rare and came as a large juicy soft cut, full of intense flavour.
Martin went for the Pan Roasted Chicken, which comes smothered in Yuzu Butter Sauce and with a side of Shimeji Mushrooms Asparagus and Bok Choi. Again, beautiful presentation and a creamy, thai influenced rich sauce giving the chicken a real unique twist.
Some standouts on the menu that I spied include the Buri Bop Korean Hot Plate, which for £14.95 comes as a dish of Forbidden Rice, Hen’s Egg Yolk, and Korean Golbi Sauce which can be topped with either Tiger Prawns, Beef, Sashimi Tuna, Sashima Salmon or a Vegetarian dish of Tofu, Asparagus and Broccoli. I’d love to chose this with tiger prawns, so next time I visit, that’s the one I gotta try!
Other tempting dishes include Asian-Spiced Duck Cottage Pie, which comes with Pork Crackling and Home-Pickled Onion, and the Grand Pacific ‘Thali’ Plate, which is a lunch time option for me, priced at £ 9.95 per person to act as a shared. For two or more, it comes as a feast of Sesame Chicken Wings, Prawn Tempura, Forbidden Rice Balls and Glazed Chicken Skewers,
Bakwan Sayur, Chicken Karaage and Duck Gyoza’s. YUM!
Of course, we couldn’t leave without sharing a dessert! Especially as we were celebrating! We went for the Chocolate Fondant, which is a melt-in-the-middle pudding surrounded with Vanilla Ice Cream, Salted Caramel Sauce, Honeycomb and Roasted Peanuts. Honestly can’t explain how much this dessert is a mouth watering delight!
If you’re looking for quality food with a pan asian twist, creative cocktails and grand decor, this is a place that ticks all the boxes. Prices are mid-high, but you get large portions and that fine dining experience, with super attentive staff and a warm atmosphere.
One of my favourite places in Manchester, without a doubt.