When we heard that one of Manchester’s most famous and fine old haunts was opening as the new home of Grand Pacific restaurant bar, we just had to have a gander at the menu and interiors alike, darling.
Originally the home of the Manchester Reform Club in the 19th Century, this space flaunts style and sophisticated colonialism. The Grade II listed building retains its classical elegance whilst Living Ventures have applied a tropical stamp on the place. As you walk in, the door hosts take your coat and escort you up a sturdy, wooden staircase. This is a place for high society. It felt as though we were checking in to a luxury hotel in the Caribbean in the 1930s, with elaborate plants, palm trees, graceful staff and an air of quality at every turn. The main restaurant bar area was plush and decadent; high tables were perfect for an exquisite afternoon tea whereas the long bar quite obviously emulates that of the iconic Raffles Bar in Singapore. Singapore Sling anyone? This is Manchester's answer to such an iconic cocktail haunt.
The Atmosphere and Clientele
If you never made the move to join an expat community abroad, there's no need to now. Those very same expats are chilling out right now at Grand Pacific in Manchester, on the plushest seating in town. On a Tuesday lunch time, we were sat beside glamorous bloggers who were Instagramming their dishes and the flamboyant, long cocktails that they came with.
This place seemed to be full of couples and ladies who lunch - everyone who's anyone. Being located in the original financial district of the city, it's no wonder really; the grandeur, opulence and sumptuousness that we assumed graced the air back in the '30s was very much still apparent in this humble year of 2017. There is also something special about dining in a space with so much history... rumour has it that even a young Winston Churchill would frequent the place for a good ol' chin wag and heated debate, where hot topics such as votes for women were dissected and decisions were informed. What an honour to eat my luncheon in such a spot.
The Food and Drink
The menu boasted an array of dishes with exotic flavours presented with a modern-day, British distinction. To start, my companion and I shared two different small plates: the Chicken and Spring Onion Gyoza (£6) with soy, sweet potato and miso and the Pork Balls (£6.50) which came with a sumptuously rich Harumaki dipping sauce and melted away in the mouth. Served on almost pan-Asian style long plates, the bite-sized pieces were arranged beautifully, with tasty garnishes to boot.
Next, I tried the Tea-Smoked Salmon fillet which came with a creamy and delicate cucumber sauce. The portion was a little smaller than I was expecting, but luckily, we also ordered some buttery asparagus spears which had a lovely, deep, garlicky flavour and an original yuzu hollandaise sauce. We also ordered the aptly named Chicken Supreme (£14.95) which came with saffron pearl barley, wasabi creme fraiche and a crunch of pistachio. This was the first time i'd tried wasabi on chicken, and certainky wont be the last. To quench our thirst during our break from the office, we went for a couple of mocktails. I went for the sweetly refreshing Watermelon Lemonade (£4.50) whilst my companion opted for a hearty Strawberry, Banana and Orange Smoothie (£5). But with a classic cocktail menu and expert mixologists at hand, we'd definitely go back to try an alcoholic concoction or two on the weekend.
Heralding the prestigious pineapple on its logo, Grand Pacific is the epitome of luxe and of class class. We'll be there next week, rubbing shoulders with Manchester's dining elite... will you?