Would Sunday lunch at the Grand Pacific Manchester be a grand affair?
What do you do at the weekend? I tend to play catch up on my writing and view time at the weekend like precious gold-dust. After a particularly full-on weekend (I was at the Bolton Food Festival doing a food writer demo – more on that in a standalone post), I was ready for some chill-out time. It was on a sweltering Sunday that we decided to review Grand Pacific’s Sunday lunch; would a carvery on one of the hottest days of the year be a wise idea?
I have visited Grand Pacific Manchester a few times, sometimes for food, sometimes to sip a few cocktails. Opulence, majestic and imposing are a few words that spring to mind as I alight the spiral staircase. Dark wood, long mirrors and an even longer bar greet me as I make it on the mezzanine section.
Dulcet tones of melodious light strings are a pleasure, and I momentarily halt, listening to the live string quartet in the Palm Court. I want to paint a romantic picture, that of an alabaster hued heroine gazing at the quartet caught mid-step, but in reality I am sweaty, sticky and hotter than a recently erupted volcano thanks to the crazy train journey from Bolton to Manchester (really Bolton sort your trains out).
As we make our way over to the table I gasp with relief as I realise Grand Pacific is delectably air conditioned, and the smile returns to my face as I look forward to sipping a few cocktails.
Smoky Old Fashioned has good earthy notes and has a pleasant lingering sweetness on the palate, just how I like it.
I love eateries who push boundaries, and Grand Pacific Manchester is no stranger to challenging palates. One of the starters has a decidedly occidental twist, which is what we choose to kickstart our Sunday lunch.
One starter consists of chilled Vietnamese spring rolls. Gossamer thin rice paper showcases its precious cargo of chunky prawn and flashes of emerald green basil. Crunchy mandolined vegetables and meaty prawns with a good bite are moreish as heck, especially when swiped through roast sesame sauce.
Duck gyoza are chock-full with spicy pulled duck and sweet potato. I find the sweet and sour hoisin fragrant with a hint of aniseed.
Sunday roast is carved table-side, but because I choose roast chicken, the breast appears on my plate as if by magic. Served bone-in and skin-on renders the meat all the more succulent. Hulk-sized Yorkshire puddings and gravy that has umami by the bucketload is a joy to eat. Vegetable sides are commendable; buttered mash is creamy and generously portioned, and cauliflower cheese uses potent cheese that tastes like a mixture of White Stilton and Cheddar.
Dining partner chooses roast English topside of beef. Butter-soft meat quickly disappears from the plate, and I am told the carrots are very good.
It is hot hot hot, which is why I find myself choosing a tropical treat. Coconut rum trifle is light and refreshing (that’ll be the tangy lemon curd), whilst hibiscus spiked strawberry jelly imparts a whisper of fragrant herb on the swallow.
Dining partner’s cocoa dusted chocolate fondant oozes deep dark chocolate sauce. I snaffle a forkful (fine, two forkfuls), and mix with a little of the accompanying vanilla ice-cream and salted caramel sauce. The resulting mixture has a sweet and salty base, which plays a merry dance on my palate. When I scoop a little of the honeycomb and roasted peanuts, it is safe to say that I feel at peace and all thoughts of Brexit-Boris-Bannon-Trump momentarily disappear.
Dining at Grand Pacific Manchester feels like a treat, but it really should be your local. If you have something preying on your mind, or if you just want to enjoy stunning surroundings, slip your heels on, run to the Grand Pacific Manchester and dive head first into that chocolate fondant. From stellar service which is attentive yet unobtrusive, to desserts that will be imprinted onto your memory, visit Grand Pacific Manchester now.
Restaurant name: Grand Pacific, Manchester
Owners: Living Ventures
Open since: March 2017
Address: 50 Spring Gardens, Manchester M2 1EN
Opening times: Monday – Sunday 12pm – 12am
How to make reservation: Telephone & online
Call: 0161 839 9365
Head chef: Mo
General Manager: Ian Croff
Menu: Sunday Lunch from £15.95. Children’s option available too from £7.
Whilst in the area check out Vivienne Westwood on King Street. Her glorious label Anglomania continues to enthral; I also have my eye on the cobalt blue mirror top.
*Complimentary dining experience in exchange for review*