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Pacific Chinese and Thai Cuisine
Pacific Chinese & Thai Cuisine
This lunchtime had to be a treat. It was our first visit to Pacific, a restaurant with a reputation in Manchesters famous Chinatown district. Pacific boasts a number of restaurant awards including City Life restaurant of the year 1999 and Hi-Life Magazine best oriental restaurant 2000.
Pacific is a restaurant with two concepts within one restaurant. It has a Chinese (called China) on the lower floor and a Thai restaurant (called Thailand) on the upper floor, both offering an extensive selection of authentic dishes.
The style is contemporary with spacious surroundings and elegant décor. The whole restaurant is light and airy and pristine in all respects.
We ate in Thailand and chose the special lunchtime buffet. We thought this was well priced at £7.50, although we discovered if we had eaten the day before it would have been the normal price of £5.95. It was December 1st and we had fallen prey of the seasonal price hike designed to capitalize on lunchtime office revelers!
Never mind, we ordered some drinks, I had a pint of Stella Artois and Linda had Lemonade. We then investigated the buffet. Before trying any of the dishes I was staggered by the visual appeal, choice and obvious quality of the spread. There were reputedly 35 dishes of starter, salad, curry, main course, accompaniments and desserts on offer. I didnt count them but there must have been something of that order.
To my shame I am not fully au fait with Thai cuisine, as my experience in Thai restaurants is limited, so I wasnt always sure what dish I was eating. Im sure I could have asked but with 35 on offer I would have eventually worn the staff down. Some were labeled like the dry yellow chicken curry (fabulous!). Most were not labeled, although the principle ingredients in them gave a clue as to what they were.
There were lots of different type of sauce and condiments available for pepping up the range of dishes, from satay sauce to chilli sauces and other dips. I tried some and they were typically fresh and fiery with practiced use of chilli, herbs and garlic.
The actual buffet menu is featured on the Pacific website at the address above. It lists all the dishes in the buffet choice of which a selection are available daily.
The highly flavoured food made me quite thirsty and I had to order another round of drinks.
To anybody who has not tried Thai food I would recommend this as the best place to start. The range of food is so extensive it will suit everyone. If you dont know what to order you dont have to bother, it is all laid out in front of you. You can try everything or be selective, you can eat as much or as little as you want. If you dont like it - leave it, if you like it then have some more!!
Every item of food I tried was splendid in its own way. I could not fault any choice at all. Some buffets are economical on the more expensive ingredients, but this buffet had fish, chicken, beef, pork, ribs in abundance. There was also a hot stall, where daily fresh dishes are prepared. I tried the Thai spring roll which appeared to contain an oriental strip of sausage, mixed vegetables, wrapped in a roll, covered in sauce and sliced into portions served on a separate plate.
I finished off my meal with some of the dessert selections. There was fresh pineapple slices and fresh melon, with a choice of some cold Thai desserts, one of which appeared to be lychees. Anyway, after such a piquant main meal, some fresh fruit was delicious. I found the Thai desserts a bit sweet and syrupy though! Im sure that is how they are meant to be, that is more a personal preference on my part.
For comparison you may care to check our review of the also excellent Pan Asia Oriental Restaurant, in Faulkener Street, also in Chinatown.
Overall: The best restaurant I have visited in a very long time. I will make a point of returning as soon as possible to become more acquainted with Thai food. Highly recommended.
Update, December 2002
Having read the article on your website regarding how good this restaurant is I wanted to give you another view point.
My company had its Christmas evening meal in the Thailand restaurant and the standard was very much below average.
We were a party of 14 and at £27 per head, there was not enough of the main dishes for each person eating, there was not enough in some dishes for everyone to have a sample. Those that did get a taste, quite literally only got a taste.
The vegetarian dishes were not distinguished by the waitresses and so someone had to sample every dish to work out whether it contained meat or not. The quality of the food compared with either the Royal or Saim Orchid in Manchester or the Jitrada Thai in Sale was not comparable, all of the latter being far superior.
We were in and out in about one and a half hours which is some going for a party of 14 and a 4 course meal!
Although around Christmas we do expect that restaurants are busy, but for one with such a good reputation we did not expect them to compromise both quality and service.