Pacific, Chinatown Manchester, 58-60 George Street, Manchester, M1 4HF – Visit Now
This venue is now closed.
Pacific lies at the top of Manchester’s Chinatown, on George Street. The decor is minimal and pared-down, brightly-lit and dotted with purple pillars and glowing Chinese lanterns. Best of all, the daytime dim sum menu has a hefty discount, making it an ideal place to stop off for a quick lunch. To say the menu is expansive is like saying Manchester has roadworks – it’s near-endless (though a good deal more agreeable than the city’s transport system).
The staff are efficient and helpful, and although too busy to go into much detail about the food – even on a wet Tuesday afternoon, the place is bustling – they’re happy to suggest a couple of off-menu dishes at a marked-down price. We start with the fried turnip cake. A thick slab of soft-yet-sturdy mashed vegetable, it’s charred in all the right places and has a comfortingly mushy texture. Perfect with a splash of soy sauce.
The lotus leaf packed with glutinous rice and vegetables is another treat. Sticky white rice with that subtle hint of lotus leaf tea, opening up to reveal an umami-rich collection of sticky meats. The rice is slightly over-cooked and congealed but it doesn’t detract too much from the overall taste.
Steamed char siu bao, those fluffy cloud-like buns that hold a centre of sticky dark pork
Any self-respecting dim sum fan will want to try out the steamed char siu bao, those fluffy cloud-like buns that hold a centre of sticky dark pork. Part cake, part savoury snack, they’re irresistible and the only complaint is that three simply isn’t enough.
More substantial meals are also available, at a much-reduced price, so we opt for a pile of soft noodles, hot and golden, mingled with slices of fried onion. This comes with a large portion of chicken and peppers swimming in a blackish salty sauce. When combined it provides a satisfying and complex flavour, though it might prove too heavy for those looking for a quick light lunch.
Good quality ingredients in a no-frills venue, with a vast menu
The ha gao (dumplings packed with prawn and pork) are a must-try. They’re gone in a mouthful and hot and clammy in the best possible way. The only misfire comes with the dessert choice, black sesame balls. These are three dusty orbs, squishy and oozing with a grey goo that tastes faintly of oil. An acquired taste, no doubt, but not one I’m in a rush to pick up.
But don’t let that put you off. Pacific is exactly what Chinatown is all about. Good quality ingredients in a no-frills venue, with a vast menu that offers up everything from popular classics to unusual dishes you won’t have heard of before. If you’ve got a spare tenner and a hankering for some quick Chinese cuisine, you won’t be disappointed.