Traditionally, afternoon tea in England compromises of teeny tiny little sandwiches with the crusts cut off, followed by huge amounts of tea (or champagne – the best bit), followed by heavy scones and bready pastries – but at Grand Pacific it’s considerably more fancy.
Grand Pacific opened earlier this year in the old Manchester Reform Club building, at the top of King Street, with an extravagant new restaurant and bar area. As well as the easygoing drinking & dining you’d expect from one of the Living Ventures family, Grand Pacific offers an exotic High Tea menu, featuring bite size sweet delights, from sweets to sandwiches.
The afternoon tea is served in two waves, and not all at once as many others in the city, and offers great value for money thanks to the care & attention that has gone into planning the food and drink offering.
A huge amount of attention has been paid to the presentation of each of each wave, and not all the focus is on the cake – as the savoury selection includes much more than just finger sandwiches. We started at the top of our savoury tower, where a toasted crumpet was served with Cornish crab butter, alongside an Eccles cake with creamy Lancashire cheese, and the standout Forbidden rice arancini ball with goats cheese.
On the second tier, GP served some seafood bites, with a Salmon & Tuna Lomi served in a spoon, containing raw diced tuna & salmon in a chilli and coriander dressing, and a potato cake piled high with smoked salmon. Even as a non-fish lover (unless it’s from the chippy, or a fishfinger butty), both the smoked salmon and the lomi were delicious.
As a homage to the traditional English afternoon tea, the bottom tier also featured both a Coronation chicken and an egg & mustard cress sandwich.
Now onto the main event – the sweet selection, two tiers of sugary goodness. We dove straight in with the Lamington lollipops, similar to a Victoria sponge cake pop, rolled in jam & desiccated coconut, followed by the mini strawberry pavlova, which had managed to retain it’s texture despite being so miniature. All the deserts were delicately decorated with flowers, but in this case it definitely wasn’t style over substance.
GP use the High Tea to show off their dessert offering, and you’ll also find a miniature version of their Grand Pacific Sherry Trifle as well as Jasmine Tea Bread With Rose Jelly & Cream.
The favourites for me were the sharp lemon tart, and the ornate crème brulee – half a hollowed out passionfruit, refilled with Mango & Passion Fruit Brûlée. The chocolate truffle was beautifully rich, and although at this point we thought there was room for no more, we managed to battle through and finish the whole thing.
GP offer a tea selection from faraway places, but I’m under no illusion anything will beat a good old English brew. If you’re looking for something a little more exotic to wash down the copious amounts of cake, choose from one of GP’s loose leaf tea’s including Earl Grey, Chai Spice, Gunpowder or Silver Needle.
Overall, the whole experience was really well executed, with huge attention to detail from the staff. If you’re looking for something a little bit more special than your standard afternoon tea, Grand Pacific offer a great alternative, for what felt like a real luxury depart from a grey Manchester.
High tea is available Monday – Saturday between 12pm & 4pm, and starts from £20 per person, or £25 per person with a glass of Prosecco. The cakes and pastries are made fresh especially for the high tea menu, so to avoid disappointment we highly recommend booking.