Grand Pacific Manchester Review

 

When I first received the email for the Grand Pacific launch, I didn’t even look at it, I just said yes. I was away at the time and all I had received was an invite stating it’s location, the date and there was a cool graphic image of a pineapple. Honestly – that pineapple was the only reason I agreed, I simply thought pineapple accessories are Mo’s favourite so if that was the theme of this place, I was all for it.

 

The Venue

If you’re familiar with Manchester City Centre, Grand Pacific is situated where Room used to be, Spring Gardens – a great location. We arrived on the cold launch night starving and ready to eat. The first thing I noticed before walking in were the beautiful door handles on the glass doors at the entrance. A beautiful brass pineapple split into 2, one half for each door – the pineapple being the logo of Grand Pacific. The hostesses were very cheery on arrival, they politely took our coats and asked us whether we wanted drinks at the (busy) bar, or if we wanted to be taken straight to our table. Bellies rumbling, we chose the latter option.

 

 

Interiors start to step up the minute you hit the stairs, as I looked up towards the sweeping staircase and it was a real masterpiece. A truly majestic entrance for what we discovered, is a truly majestic place.

As we got to the top of the stairs, the house beats were pumping, not too loud so we couldn’t hear ourselves, but loud enough to let us know Grand Pacific is here and it is here to stay. This place is serious interior design porn and for design junkies like Mo and I, we literally couldn’t get enough of how spectacular this place looked by night. The gorgeous lights, the beautiful bar area, the old fireplace thankfully still intact, my eyes darted across the space simply trying to take everything in.

 

 

The hostess took us to our table, which (to our surprise) was the best table in the house, with views of the entire restaurant and bar, raised slightly higher than the rest of the restaurant seating and with views of King Street just through the window. It is the far corner table, by huge windows, crowned with a beautiful, crystal chandelier. We couldn’t believe our luck. Other bloggers were due to join me but ended up sitting elsewhere so we had eventually had the table to ourselves. Happy hubby!

 

 

It’s funny because as we sat there soaking it all in, a feeling of deja vu started to creep up on us… we realised the last time we had visited Room was seven years ago where I had met up with some of my old school friends to introduce them to the man that I had just got engaged to. It was so bizarre to be in the same place and near enough the same month at such a different point in our life and to then revisit many moons later. Very surreal and really put into perspective how much had changed not just at this venue, but in our lives too.

Ok moment over back to the night…

The table was dressed impeccably. The glassware and cutlery glinting away like jewels under the subtle lighting. As a typography lover, the lettered embroidery on the napkins was driving me nuts – I loved it! I know, that’s a really weird thing to point out, but if you too had a love for lettering you would totally understand where I’m coming from!!

Seated and comfortable, the staff came to collect our drinks and then food orders. We literally didn’t know where to begin. Our waiter for the night was Marcus, who knew this menu inside out. He was able to advise on dishes, portion sizes and recommended his own particular favourites. And the best bit, he spoke about the menu with such passion, it was literally a breath of fresh air. He was also very patient with me constantly asking him questions and struggling to make a decision.

 

The Food

Grand Pacific is designed to evoke old school sophistication, with a menu inspired by the tropical lands of the old empire. To that end and to our luck, there was plenty of fish on the menu, which was perfect as the meat is not halal.

For starters, we had the tuna and salmon lomi and chirashi sushi bowl. The sushi was a large portion and could quite easily have been a main, but both dishes were incredible and the fish tasted so fresh, I felt they could quite literally have been caught that morning. The fish from my chirashi bowl was amongst some of the best sashimi I’ve tried, the fish had no smell and pretty much melted on my tongue – it was exactly what I had been craving.  Pickled mackerel, avocado slices, sushi rice… it was an artistic creation for the eyes and the taste buds.

 

 

For mains, Mo ordered the tempura Szechuan sea bass with crispy noodles, pineapple and cucumber and I had the tea smoked salmon with cucumber salad.

Again, absolutely impeccable both in taste and presentation. The Szechuan sea bass was the overriding winner though. Two large fillets of fluffy white fish, lightly battered in a chili tempura batter and served with a bed of crispy noodles drizzled in the most beautiful sauce. Although my salmon had been smoked, it was delicately infused with additional flavour, a more conservative portion in comparison to the gargantuan sea bass, but no less satisfying.

Mo says that there is always a separate belly for dessert and tonight was no exception. I ordered the creme brûlée with jasmine tea bread and rose petal jelly, Mo had the chocolate fondant with ice cream and honeycomb. The fondant was delicate and soft and the molten lava chocolate inside erupted beautifully as soon as Mo put his spoon through. Even as a non-chocolate lover, I can attest to the fact that it was DELICIOUS. The salted caramel sauce, honeycomb and peanuts were a nice textural touch and of course cleverly complimented the rest of it.

 

 

Overall, our experience of Grand Pacific was excellent. The location, the interiors, the staff and most importantly the nosh, are all nothing short of superb.

Prices are on the higher side and although they are justified given the quality of what you getting and the ambiance of this sensational building and space, this may be one you want to reserve for special occasions.

We almost certainly will be back.

 

 

*** Thank you to Grand Pacific for inviting us to the launch of their restaurant. As always my opinions are not influenced and Mo and I look forward to visiting again some time in the near future ***

 

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A couple of weeks ago, after drooling over images posted on twitter by the most techy dog in Manchester, M-Dog, Mo and I decided to book our five year anniversary dinner at the newly opened Sakana restaurant on Peter street.

A quick glance at the menu and we were desperate to try it. I have spent the large part of 2014 complaining about how it was hard to find places that served great sushi and sashimi dishes in Manchester. So, I was excited to see whether Sakana was on-par with some of the greats down south i.e. Sushi Samba. View Post

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Every time we plan a trip out of town, I like to try and find a new place for us to eat. As much as I’m loyal to my hometown of Manchester, London really does have the edge when it comes to the restaurant scene. There is such an endless amount of choice.

With a lot of my friends living in London, Facebook is a great tool to find new openings and popular haunts… which is how I came across Chotto Matte.

I had seen the name flying around different status updates, so I had a quick glance and as I have a soft spot for great interiors, was pretty much sold on the place after seeing only a few images. Well, at least enough for me to search for it online and to find the menu.

The menu was a mix of Japanese-Peruvian cuisine, aka Nikkei – perfect! Manchester lacks good concept sushi bars, a cuisine I have grown to love and I crave all the time. So when I come across menus like Chotto Matte’s, I am literally salivating as I read.

We booked ahead for an early dinner, worried that it would start to get busy on a Saturday. The restaurant is located in the heart of Soho and is so close to the theatres, I didn’t want us to get caught up in queues of people filling their tums up on food before heading out to a show.

As we walked up to the restaurant, I realised we were dressed pretty casually and started to worry that we may feel a bit out of place. From the reviews I had read, Chotto Matte is a hotspot for the young and trendy likes of the city, but it was obviously way too late to be thinking about our attire and way too early for the young and trendy to be out having dinner!! We headed towards the lava stone reception desk (so beautiful!) and we were greeted by a very friendly maitre-d, who could’ve easily been a supermodel and didn’t flinch at our casual attire, phew! We were taken straight to our table in the sushi bar area of the restaurant.

Chotto Matte is split into six different areas over two floors. My initial attraction to the place was the design, and on seeing it, I was not disappointed. I adored the fusion of street art, open kitchen, contemporary lighting and earthy materials. It was still light outside when we arrived. The downstairs part of the restaurant has a full wall of floor-to-ceiling windows, but they were still able to create an ambient atmosphere within. Such great interior design.

Our booth was right by the large mural that spans across the side of the restaurant – a nice, bright collection of manga-style street drawings. I loved the use of a glass pane in front of it, so classy! And again fabulous lighting techniques to illuminate it (I used to work in lighting hence my slight obsession in how things are lit).

Happy that we were comfortable in our seats and with the interiors pleasing me so greatly, we got onto the important bit – ordering food.

From the reviews I had read, I knew we had to try the ceviche and I was dying to indulge in anything with the word ‘sushi’. Luckily, I was not disappointed, it was all pretty good. I have tried ceviche before and never been too impressed but the dish we were served up here was YUM. I would definitely order it again.

Although I can only testify on the veg, fish and non alcoholic options we tried, again other reviews have gushed about some of the beef dishes and the cocktail bar, in particular, is a popular haunt on the weekends.

Verdict:

Presentation: faultless. Taste: delicious. Service: Just right.

All in all, if you are in the neighbourhood or in fact just wanting to have a nice meal out, I would totally recommend booking a table at Chotto Matte. I only wish we hadn’t just finished an afternoon tea, so we could’ve experimented with more dishes! Oh well, there’s always next time…!!

www.chotto-matte.com

 

If anyone happens to have any great sushi suggestions in Manchester, I would love to know! (Means I don’t have to take a trip down South, every time to get my fill)

Chotto Matte Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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With Mo’s birthday weekend in Paris booked, I searched the internet for a place to stay. I remembered once coming across a Philippe Starck hotel and instantly wanted to find it, which I did but unfortunately, it was out of budget for this trip.

What I did come across by sheer luck was a restaurant that he had designed the interiors for – Miss KO Paris. It only took one look at the home page to know I’d found a gem. First and foremost I checked the menu, it looked great. From a halal perspective, all vegetarian dishes were clearly labelled and there was plenty of pescetarian dishes on offer too. Menu aside, as a designer I knew I had to visit this place.

Starck is famous for his quirkiness and Miss KO is no exception, from the evolving image concept to the uv lighting and semi industrial feel, it really was an interior marvel that he could combine such an array of designs and make them work.

I emailed in advance to book our table, as from my research it was quite a popular place for the young french ‘it’ crowd and we could only get a spot at 8pm, bit early for dinner in france but perhaps booking a week in advance for a saturday night was a bit late notice.

If you decide to go, I would recommend possibly booking a later table, when we arrived at 8 the restaurant was quite empty but in the space of half an hour the restaurant was completley full and there wasn’t a single space free, the whole restaurant was buzzing.

Miss KO is just off the Champs Elysees, so is easy to get too and ideally placed for holiday makers like ourselves. Mo and I had mixed reviews on the food, nothing bad of course! Mo felt sushi samba in london had a better quality meal however as sushi goes, Miss KO is most definately up there. We tried a lobster and coriander sushi roll which was my personal favourite (a must try) and their inventive japanese sashimi pizza was also a refreshingly interesting dish.

One thing we must mention is the service we received that night was the best we have ever experienced in a restaurant. Our waiter, whom we named Mr Fab, was the perfect example of being involved and helpful without getting in the way of our romantic evening.

In a place designed to cater for only the coolest of cool people and where a small number of wait staff catered to a full capacity restaurant, Mr Fab made an immense effort to make our evening and Miss KO experience a memorable one.

www.miss-ko.com

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review Sushi Samba London

 

There are lots of great places to eat and visit in London but Sushi Samba should be top of your list. After much praise from friends and Elle decoration’s fabulous review on the restaurant interiors, we decided to book a table for lunch on our crazy weekend in the city. Disappointed we were not.

On walking into the main door and joining the queue we watched as groups of people who hadn’t made bookings got turned away (so that’s one tip, always book) and on confirming our reservation we were directed to the private glass elevator to take us up to the restaurant. What a treat! The elevator climbed the heights smoothly, at ease and at a speed which wasn’t loitering but not roller coaster crazy either.

 

 

As we stepped off the lift and walked towards the restaurant the first area you encounter is the bar which is a nice cosy size, full length windows looking out over the city and an outdoor area which is stunning. I won’t give away too much as I think some things are nice left as a surprise. We ordered ourselves a couple of non-alcoholic mojitos – expensive – but extremely tasty so we let it slide. we had some time to pass so we sat on some stools right by the window and just took in the sights.

At exactly 2pm we went through to our table, by the window, and sat down to study the menu. Once again, décor of the restaurant is one to appreciate once you’re there, simple, stylish and very Elle Decoration worthy! Now the menu is a whole different story. The waiter kindly explained how many dishes he recommended and we were happy to follow his advice (which turned out to be just right). The dishes listed all sounded mouth watering and exciting and we couldn’t wait to tuck in!

 

 

As halal-ies we were of course limited to fish and vegetarian options but there was still plenty to choose from. I have never really been a fan of sushi. Mo has always loved it and we would occasionally eat out at ‘Yo Sushi’ however I would generally stick to the cooked options on offer. Sushi Samba was a choice I made as a treat to Mo, but I thought it would also be a great place for me to try and digest some raw fish.

I loved it and it has made me so much more adventurous when tasting new cuisines, I even managed to enjoy the ceviche. My opinion probably isn’t the best one to go from as this was my first time experiencing a real sushi meal but Mo, an experienced sushi taster, thought it was the best sushi he had ever had. And he still stands by that today.

 

 

We had such a lovely time that afternoon and the best bit was receiving the bill. For a restaurant perched above the city with such phenomenal food we were expecting to break the bank. So when our meal came in around the £60 mark Mo and I nearly fell on the floor with shock. Not to bad for London prices and it meant we wouldn’t have to save future visits for special occasions.

Great place to take a group of friends, have a romantic date or just indulge in some great Japanese sushi. I’ve been told on Friday/Saturday nights they have a live band which is meant to really bring the place to life, something to look out for. We’ve been to places like the Shard where the views are spectacular, but why not go somewhere that combines the views with food? If you’re on a tight schedule whilst in London, like we normally are, efficiency is everything.

 

Click here to visit their website: www.sushisamba.com

Sushi Samba Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

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