Continuing in my quest to sample all the Sunday roast dinner offerings in Manchester, I’m taking us on a journey to the Grand Pacific in Manchester. Although Grand Pacific only opened in March, it has certainly carved it’s place when it comes to dining and seeing fully booked restaurants week in, week out. When I experienced Grand Pacific for the soft launch in March, I did mention how I would have loved to experience it again but during the day, when it’s full of casual diners rather than press and food reviewers. That chance came as myself and Keeley were invited along to try out the classic Sunday Roast menu back at the beginning of April. You know me and my meat, I couldn’t have turned that opportunity down. A 2pm table was booked for us and during the bright light of day, I found Grand Pacific to be a very different experience.
The building and setting is of course, still incredibly beautiful and well designed, but the atmosphere was so different. A Sunday afternoon brought people in who had been shopping, and wanted to grab a quick bite and cocktail at the bar, whilst the restaurant was filling up quickly. We were seated towards the rear of the restaurant, near the window and overlooking King Street. Attentive wait staff came over and served us very quickly for drinks and gave us adequate time to decide if we wanted to try the Sunday Roast menu or experience something from the main menu. We had our sights set on the Sunday Roast, which is priced per course. The menu back in April does differ from the one on the Grand Pacific website, where we had a more limited menu with just one starter and dessert, as well as the two choices of meat. It was almost a 1980s dinner party menu; prawn cocktail, Sunday roast, Sherry trifle. Taking the three course option, we sat back and waited for all the food to arrive. I absolutely love a Sunday roast.
There seemed to have been some confusion as the table service platter of roast beef was wheeled over to us before we had received our starters. The girl could not have been more apologetic, and this was swiftly rectified with the Prawn Cocktail starter arriving to the table. Now, if you read my previous review on Grand Pacific, I did sing the praises of the grandeur of the place but on a Sunday afternoon, I just felt that it was a bit grandiose and borderline try to hard. I felt like I should have been on the Titanic. Combined with the string quartet playing tunes that were slightly mournful, I honestly did feel that I should be selecting a fine Brandy to drink before I went down into the ocean in all my finery.
The Prawn Cocktail starter was served in a splendid ornate silver basket, that made it quite difficult to eat from. I had to remove the glass bowl from the basket to be able to get to the salad inside. Crisp, fresh lettuce topped with chopped tomato, with a generous serving of Marie rose sauce garnished with chopped chives. Four large king prawns hung from the side of the serving bowl, whilst a decorative piece of lettuce was stood upright at the rear of the bowl. On the serving plate, four triangles of what tasted like sourdough bread, and a lemon for zesting. You can see how the presentation is important here, and admittedly it does look very grand, and you can’t also go very wrong with a classic prawn cocktail. My only negative from the starter is how it’s served. I just found it quite fiddly to get the salad out and had to dismantle it.
For the second time, the table service meat platter was wheeled towards us, whilst we were served with fresh plates and napkins. I chose the beef, as usual, and two thick slices were hand carved in front of me. I do like my beef to be pink, and it was a perfect soft pink that tasted beautiful. Seasoned well, and not overcooked which is no mean feat if you are wheeling a table side platter around, it tasted a lot better than I imagined it to. Served with the classic Yorkshire pudding and a splash of gravy, I waited for the platter of vegetables to be delivered to the table.
To me, a good Sunday roast isn’t just about the meat, it’s about the vegetables. I don’t often get chance to make several different veg options so I don’t feel guilty by stuffing my face with all I can on a Sunday roast. The platter was served between myself and Keeley, with five different veg options; crispy roast potatoes, the butteriest mash, carrots, a selection of green veg and a bowl of cauliflower cheese. This is exactly what I expect from a Sunday lunch, and this is where the lunch at Neighbourhood fell short. Although between us, we didn’t polish off the entire platter of vegetables, we were pretty close to finishing it. It surprised me to see that the table next to us, where only person had ordered the Sunday roast, received the exact same amount of vegetables that we had served between two of. I don’t know if this is normal or if it was to do with the the lady at the table working for Grand Pacific. If it is, I would say that it would be very over facing to receive that amount of veg for one person.
For dessert, a Hibiscus and Sherry Trifle topped with raspberry sherbet and a floral garnish. Lemon curd créme fraiche tops Hibiscus and Sherry jelly; juicy, fruit and a perfect after dinner dessert. I think a trifle is very underrated and the Hibiscus jelly was a particularly pleasant experience. Slightly tangy, yet it worked well with the zest of the lemon curd créme fraiche, and the subtle tartness of the raspberry sherbet.
Ending my Sunday roast, a pot of tea served in a Grand Pacific branded teapot and matching cup and saucer. The attention to detail is second to none in Grand Pacific, and I do love the experience of being in the beautiful surroundings. I think that now it has been open a few months, that I do want to revisit again to see how things have settled down and fallen into place. Although the service was attentive, there were some minor issues which I don’t think is fair to bring to the blog, because I can appreciate that it was early days of Grand Pacific being opened and I didn’t have any cause for complaint at the time, nor do I now.
I’ve seen some incredible reviews of the High Tea, so I think I would love to try that out very soon. I’m sure I can find an occasion for High Tea and champagne!
*I was invited as a guest however all my opinions are my own.