What’s the very last thing you would do when you walked into a luxurious dining establishment with intricately monogrammed napkins and a glowing reputation as: homage to the golden age of high society?
Well, there’s a whole raft of no-gos isn’t there really but high up on that list is asking for a paper tissue off the bar to roll your gum into. Close second behind joking (I swear) about it being that, or sticking it under the perfectly-dressed table like an old lab table in the school science block…
Pictured: The face of someone who sincerely regrets not chucking their chewy in the bin outside.
Not pictured: hours-old Extra Bubblemint.
Oh well, we can’t all be the same and surely there’s only so much decorum to share between everyone. I wouldn’t want to be greedy now – unless of course we’re talking about the brand new food menu at Grand Pacific which, as a matter of fact, we are.
Now, I don’t mean to get straight to the slap before we’ve even covered the tickle but I really do think it’s in the vibe and venue that this place truly transcends.
The Living Ventures bar and restaurant resides in the beautiful Grade II-listed Manchester Reform Club building and boasts lofty ceilings, authentic Victorian architecture, climbing spiral staircase, cosy front-facing alcoves and towering arched windows which let in the most beautiful natural light. We were there on a rare sunny day in Manchester and the hazy lustre that was cast across the interior, bouncing off the array of gold and brass design features as it went, was absolutely stunning.
Grand Pacific is a beguiling synergy of old and new, somehow finding the perfect sweet spot between antique and contemporary. The atmosphere itself is equally paradoxical as for a place which brands itself as “the home of sophisticated sipping” and a homage to colonial high-society, the ambiance is surprisingly chill. I mean, there were no nose snubs at the gum disposal debacle and we felt completely and utterly relaxed, despite being treated like royalty from the moment we stepped over the threshold.
I’m not surprised Grand Pacific has gathered such acclaim amongst the Kings Street glitterati as it’s upmarket and lavish without being even one bit pretentious.
For me, where Grand Pacific is most impressive after the general opulence and overall experience is in its cocktail menu and alcoholic alchemy. Of course, there are the usual suspects such as the Singapore Sling, The Grand Pornstar, the Posh Colada and the Salted Caramel Espresso Martini – all classics in a signature Grand Pacific disguise – then there’s the array of experimental recipes that really had me spoilt for choice.
I was tempted by the notorious Golden Pineapple which has seen more Instagram exposure than Cardi B’s cleavage and very nearly settled on a Rose & Lychee Martini but succumbed last minute to my weak spot for dessert cocktails and ordered the Baked Banana (£9) cocktail from the Coupes & Shorts list.
What a sterling selection it transpired to be too. So delicious, in fact, that I could smell it coming before it had even reached the table. It was a delicate concoction of Bacardi rum, banana liqueur, syrup and a baked banana foam sprinkled with cinnamon. The attention to detail was second-to-none and the taste was certainly testament to it.
Edible highlights for us had to be the Grand Pacific ‘Thali’ Plate (£9.95 per person) starter and the Buri Bop Korean Hot Plate (£14.95) main, both shown above. Sorry, it was a bit of a #spoiler showing you before I’d even explained what the devil they were. Allow me…
The sharing plate starter is designed for two or more people to share and it’s safe to say we demolished the whole delicious lot. It comes complete with sesame chicken wings, Forbidden Rice balls (arancini with goats cheese), glazed chicken skewers, bakwan sayur (basically tempura veggies) chicken karaage and duck gyozas. Everything was top notch and the dish as a whole is a great way to experience lots of things off the menu without breaking the bank or looking like one greedy bar-steward.
The sizzling hot plate shown in the video, I’m told, is a popular dish on the Grand Pacific food menu for both its theatrics and taste so of course we had to investigate.
The hot plate arrived in front of us with warnings of how it has the potential to climb to 150 degrees (!! It comes with a raw hen’s egg yolk, a mound of Forbidden Rice and the diner’s choice of protein – we went for Sashima Salmon. We were then told to pour the accompanying Korean golbi sauce onto the steaming rice and bash it all together on the plate to create, yes you guessed it, DIY egg fried rice.
Then on went the raw salmon to cook for a few minutes in the smokey flavours et voila – we had ourselves one tasty, interactive plate of food. Probably one of the most classy and understated examples of interactive dining I’ve witnessed too. No novelty nonsense, just great food.
I don’t want to end on a negative note in saying that desserts were a little neither here nor there with regards to taste. So, I’ll finish up with one great big round of applause for the presentation skills and flawless finesse that sort of made up for a lack of flavour.
Perhaps my Instagram caption for this post should be something along the lines of: When your baby pink meringues are cuter than you could ever wish to be. Whaddaya think?!
I was very kindly invited to review Grand Pacific but all words, photographs, opinions, teeth, hair, boobs and nails are my very own.