Thursday, 23 March 2017

AFTERNOON TEA AT GRAND PACIFIC, MANCHESTER


So after my jam packed trip away, I thought it best to take another day off work, because - why not? Well in fact, I had booked yesterday off well in advance to take my best friend out to for her 22nd birthday. Once we had got the present unwrapping out of the way, we headed into Manchester for cocktails, a catch up and some savoury & sweet treats, in the classic form of Afternoon Tea.. but with a twist.

The Afternoon Tea I had booked us in for was cast in an Asian-fusion restaurant, with an added colonial theme. If you're familiar with Manchester, then odd's are you will have been to, or will have heard of Australasia in the bustling Spinning Fields district. I can't get enough of this place as well as Grand Pacific, connected underground and attached to the back of it. Grand Pacific is almost like a 'sister' restaurant to Aus, with their newly opened second Grand Pacific venture having launched just last week in the Spring Gardens area.

We headed to the new restaurant to test the delicacies and admire the decor of the new place - and it did not disappoint in the slightest. With a huge spiral staircase on entrance, aesthetic lighting, high ceilings, heaps of gold, marble and oak - it was heaven, and you could definitely tell they had spent up on it.

As for the menu, Grand Pacific like to call it 'High Tea', which aside from the cliche menu you'd usually expect, it instantly screamed out to me that it wasn't going to be your bog standard sandwiches, scones and cakes - which can be pretty trivial and underwhelming, let's be honest. 

To run through our High Tea experience, we began with complimentary cocktails (always a bonus when you know someone who works there), which included Lyhee & Mint and a Mango Lassi inspired creation. The food began with a delicious savoury selection which was as followed - Crumpet with Cornish Crab Butter - Forbidden Rice Arancini with Goats Cheese - Salmon & Tuna Lomi - Smoked Salmon Potato Cake - Egg & Mustard Cress Sandwich - Coronation Chicken Sandwich - Eccles Cake with Creamy Lancashire Cheese. So you'll have probably gathered by now that it's certainly not your conventional expectation of Afternoon Tea, but doesn't it sound even better? Each savoury element was explained to us with great knowledge and care, and I loved that everything had an out of the ordinary combination of flavours. Also, can we all just take a moment to appreciate how sassy the presentation is.


Following the generous portions of the savoury selection, and on our rather full bellies, there was a nice relaxed wait for us to carry on gossiping and top up our beverages (obviously). Whilst we sat back and relaxed, our server Hannah, brought over two rather big boxes filled with jars of fresh tea leaves and infusions. This seriously impressed us as we could browse and smell each and every one first hand before making our decision. I opted for the Chai Spice, and my friend decided on the Mango & Passion Fruit, which smelt unreal! 

To make it even better, our individual flavours of tea arrived complete with a cup, saucer, sieve and sand timer - yes, a timer. This was to ensure that we allowed enough time for our tea to infuse properly, or left in longer for a stronger concentration. It's little touches like this that make the High Tea experience at Grand Pacific different from the rest and ultimately, exciting - but, maybe I'm just easily pleased.


The sweet selection accompanied our tea shortly after which was also presented on the gorgeous gold, GP pineapple inspired cake stand. Each treat was then explained to us, which included - Lemon Tart - Mango & Passion Fruit Brûlée - Chocolate Truffle - Jasmine Tea Bread with Rose Jelly & Cream - Lamington Lollipops - Grand Pacific Sherry Trifle - Mini Pavlova. The desserts were delicious, and the partnering tea we hand picked topped the entire meal off.

The Classic High Tea that we opted for is priced at £20 per person, with any cocktails at an added extra on top. Bearing in mind we were dining in a central location, in a gorgeous setting and with great service, the whole day felt like it was such good value for money, and I would've gladly paid more. They also offer Prosecco Tea, Sparkling Rose Tea, Champagne Tea and Loose Leaf Prosecco Tea at an increased price. Here's the link if you want to have a sneak peak at their High Tea Menu.

One of the things I loved most is that the savoury and sweet courses are served separately, and at varying times. On the majority of occasions, Afternoon Tea can be so easily and generically presented with both sandwiches and cakes on one stand, yet, doesn't this dampen the fact that it's supposed to be a 'day out' for you to enjoy and experience? At Grand Pacific they allow you to eat at your own leisure and pace without feeling rushed to stuff your face and get out of the door. It also makes for a great girly day out!

We were the only table within the entire restaurant who had booked in for High Tea, and as soon as our food came out on full display, several tables surrounding us ordered it shortly afterwards - surely that speaks volumes. 

Head over to the newly launched Grand Pacific to find out more about them, check out the menu and even make a reservation for their fresh, flavoursome and unique High Tea.


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