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Grand Pacific Restaurant & Bar Manchester
3.5 stars
Address50 Spring GardensManchesterM2 1EN
Phone0161 839 9365
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Grand Pacific Manchester Review
Restaurants Of Manchester (Friday 15th February 2019)
Grand Pacific Manchester Review

Key: 5 stars = World Class!   4 stars = FANTASTIC   3 stars = GOOD   2 stars = OK   1 star = Poor

Decor & Ambience World Class
When Living Ventures influential co-founder Tim Bacon died, at the age of 52, on the 30th April 2016 - a date that will forever be remembered in Manchester's hospitality circles - his Knutsford based company were still in the process of converting the historic Reform Gentlemen’s Club - opened by Prime Minister William Gladstone in 1871 as a resort for Liberal Politicians, including Winston Churchill and  Lloyd George - from its previous guise as the stunning, but repeatedly failed, Room restaurant and cocktail bar.

Such was his passion for the building, it seemed tragic that he was never to see its opening, almost exactly a year later. That said, what LV have produced stands as a lasting tribute to possibly the most influential person in the history of Manchester's bars and restaurants. One of the beautiful large glass windows even has the initials "TB" etched into its pane, in his memory.

As was the case with the 2 AA Rosette Room beforehand, the building is, without any doubt, the most impressive in Manchester city centre - bettered only by the Miguel Cancio Martins designed Vermilion in Eastlands. Grand Pacific retains all of the Reform club's historic grandeur, such as the sweeping spiral staircase and ornate fireplaces, however it adds opulent touches, inspired by the golden age of high society, colonialism, and exploration, particularly to the Far East, with golden pineapples a plenty; most notably a huge chandelier masquerading as one, above the long bar, which was inspired by The Raffles Hotel in Singapore.
The famous statue of William Gladstone has gone from the top of the stunning spiral staircase. They could have at least replaced it with a marble one of Tim Bacon.
Grand Pacific Manchester Review
Duck Gyoza (£6.25)
Price Good/Fantastic
Prices are surprisingly not as grand as the surroundings, with main courses from £9.95 (for a Ceasar Salad) to £18.95 (for Sesame Crusted Tuna), or £26.50 for 8 oz British Fillet Steak. There's also 16 wines available by the glass (from £5.50).
Sides are advisable for some dishes (an additional £3.50 - £4.50), whilst, like Raffles, drinks are not cheap, with exotic, mainly pineapple based, cocktails setting you back £9, and the cheapest bottle of wine being £22 for a Bush Telegraph Pinot Grigio (less than £6.50 in the shops).
Grand Pacific Manchester Review
Sesame Crusted Tuna (£18.95)
Service Good
Very friendly and knowledgeable service from all involved, as you would expect from a Living Ventures establishment.
After an unduly long delay between main courses and desserts - maybe because we had indulged in the fantastic Chocolate Fondant (£6.25)? - we also had to chase up a pot of delicious Silver Leaf Tea. Our waiter also had an annoying habit of taking just one drinks order at a time; rushing off to get it before my fellow diner could even make her request.
Grand Pacific Manchester Review
Tempura Szechuan Sea Bass (£17.95)
Food & Drink Good/Fantastic
The mainly Pan-Asian menu offers something for everybody; from sandwiches and salads to gyozas, curries and steaks, with High Tea and Sunday Lunch also available.

With an emphasis on fish and exotic flavours, we opted for the Sesame Crusted Tuna (£18.95) - which was excellent - and a Tempura Szechuan Sea Bass (£17.95), which, had I taken the Fresh Cut Chips (£3.75), could have been the poshest (and most expensive) fish & chips in Manchester. Instead, the battered fish came served with a colourful and tasty serving of pineapple, cucumber, sweet potato, and miso.

Like their surroundings, the dishes are all beautifully presented, as epitomised by a King Prawn Cocktail (£7.95); a 1970s dish, which, when served in a silver basket, was reminiscent of the 1870s.

Presumably, though, its the other kind of cocktails which most people visit Grand Pacific for, and the menu, designed by their former drinks genius, Dave Ray, takes its influences from the exotic too. Singapore, Lemon Balm & Peach, Earl Grey, and Rose & Jasmin Slings (£9), sit alongside many pineapple, and rum concoctions, with his famous Smokey Old Fashioned (£9) still being a crowd pleaser. Although, not as much as the Golden Pineapple (£10); a delicious mix of Appleton Estate Signature, Domaine De Canton, Bénédictine, Vanilla, Pineapple, Lime and Chocolate Bitters, all served in - you guessed it - a large golden pineapple; which is yours to take home for £20, provided you have pockets big enough.
The Duck Gyozas (£6.25) were less impressive than I had imagined, and that is probably the best way to describe the food in general at Grand Pacific.

Perhaps, given the stunning building and the plush decor, it is surprising that Living Ventures have gone for more simple, easily accessible dishes, rather than aiming at gaining the 2 AA Rosettes which its predecessor held beforehand. Instead, it remains like a cheaper version of their consistently brilliant Australasia, from where the concept first grew.

There's nothing wrong with that, of course, as the food we had was certainly still well cooked, and we would definitely return for more, however it seems like a missed opportunity to go more High End in a venue which would support it more.

I suppose, unlike their failed attempts at getting a Michelin Star with Manchester House, in a nondescript office block, they perhaps know that people will always flock to such a beautiful venue, regardless; especially when they are a company highly regarded for consistently delivering decent food and service. They certainly seemed to be knocking out enough gourmet sandwiches and salads to tables around us, which should help pay for the expensive decor.
Grand Pacific Manchester Review
Chocolate Fondant (£6.25)
Overall Good/Fantastic
Given the opulent historic dining room, Grand Pacific is certainly a restaurant you should visit at least once. In all likelyhood you will go again and again.
Whilst still being good, reasonably priced and well executed, the dishes are surprisingly less refined than you would possibly expect for such surroundings..
Grand Pacific Manchester Review Grand Pacific Manchester Review
King Prawn Cocktail (£7.95) Oriental Greens (£3.95)
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