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.
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.
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 ***