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Gordo enjoys great Chinese food in Eccles and recalls his one time as a Relate consultant

Written by . Published on January 10th 2008.


Eccles. January, pouring with rain and an impenetrable one way system. It’s grim.

Gordo’s Gran lived here a long time ago. She was a game old bird, much loved and with a wry sense of humour. Many years ago, Gordo found himself being summonsed to her flat, in ‘sheltered accommodation’, which she shared with lots of other ‘old folks’ including her latest catch, Fred.

In Eccles, it shines so brightly you half expect to see a batman style logo, in the shape of crossed chopsticks, reflecting off the clouds.

“So Gran, what’s the matter?” asks a twenty three year old Gordo, having been settled down with a liquorice allsort and Vimto cordial. With a straw.

“Well it’s your mother I needed to talk to, but as she is away and the only person I can ask is you”.

Gordo is feeling a little sticky under the collar; who knows where an eighty year-olds female problems are going to go?

“Fred’s asked me to marry him”.

Gordo chokes.

“Blimey Gran, that’s great news. What’s the problem?”

“I lied about my age”, says Gran, tears welling up. “I told him I was 78; he thinks I’m younger than him and he will find out that I’m 81 when we get to the registry office. He won’t go through with it. I mean, he is only 79, he won’t want an older woman…”

Gordo didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. She’s an angel these days, sitting on Gordo’s shoulder.

In present day Eccles there is a Chinese restaurant that Gordo has heard good things about. Pacifica-Cantonese (PC) is situated right next to the tram station, twenty minutes away from St Peters Square, Manchester. It shines enticingly in a contemporary fashion through the driving rain. For such an horrific traffic system, the parking is brilliant.

Walking into the restaurant we find a white walled run of three or four large spaces immaculately populated with very individual tables and chairs. On a polished wooden floor, with a smart, cream leather-setteed waiting area and a bar. Well stocked is the word.

Gordo sits with his back to the room, on a cream leather banquette, ordering a pot of china tea. It arrives promptly in a super clear glass tea pot, along with a tea cup the like of which Gordo has never seen. It is perfectly designed, a miniature double skinned fish bowl which stops you burning your fingers whilst keeping the tea warm. Attention to detail is all.

The steamed Dim Sum takes twenty minutes warns the menu, so Gordo orders a couple of steamed on-shell scallops instead with soy and spring onion, (£3.50 each, minimum two) along with stalwarts golden fried squid with sweet and sour sauce (£6.95) and sesame prawn toast. (£5.50). The scallops were top drawer, with a very individual, unusual brand of soy, balanced sweetness tickling the scallops to ensure they showed their best, the spring onion nicely crunchy adding that much needed texture.

Sesame prawn toasts were as good as anything in Greater Manchester, the capital of Chinese cooking in the UK to Gordo’s mind. No residual taste from the cooking oil, the sesame seeds in abundance boosting the flavour of the freshly mashed prawn meat. Crunchy toast. Very impressive.

The couple on the table three down from Gordo weren’t as impressive. They were the spit of Mimi and Patrick McGuire from Shameless and Gordo wishes they hadn’t ordered the soup. The slurping would have drowned out the howling noise from Ian Simpson’s Beetham Tower three nights ago. Oh well.

Roast duck Cantonese style (£9.50), chosen from the ‘Pacifica specialities’ arrived as a whole breast, sliced across and laid on top of Chinese leaves, with a soy dipping sauce. This was different to other examples, roasted off but not quite crisp enough for Gordo. The leaves were, weirdly, cooked to a point where Gordo ate them all: normally he leaves them on the plate. The quality of the duck won the day mind you as these slices were fabulously tasty.

Singapore vermicelli (£8.95) delivered great heat to work as a background to the duck, the boiled rice (£2) was eaten by Gordo virtually on its own. A dollop of the soy sauce made for a really enjoyable bit of tuck at the end. It was only ordered to see how well the kitchen paid attention: it proved its point.

The staff are fantastic. According to Warren Buffet, the American billionaire investment feller, the toilets say a lot about a place. In PC's case they are utterly immaculate. You could eat your duck in there.

There is a dim sum bar upstairs which has a 2am licence, diners can finish their meals and retreat there if they so wish.

If this superb restaurant were in Chinatown, it would easily be amongst the best. In Eccles, it shines so brightly you half expect to see a batman style logo, in the shape of crossed chopsticks, reflecting off the clouds. It is a little diamond.

Quick tip: if you are coming from town, take the tram, it’s minutes away and the gaff is forty two strides from the station.

Rating: 17.5/20
Breakdown: 7.5/10 Food
5/5 Service
5/5 Ambience
Address: Pacifica- Cantonese
5-7 Church Road
M30 0DL
0161 707 8828

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16 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

GordoJanuary 10th 2008.

Fran, therin lies the tragedy, he died in his sleep six weeks befor the wedding. He was a great bloke but, 'cos my gran had told him I loved Abbot and Costello (aged six) he used to get his silent movie collection out every time I went round (aged twenty three).

AnonymousJanuary 10th 2008.

Pretentious,whats with the veranda overlooking the charity chop and top house pub dull of dead legs ? 42 steps from the tram station, noit unless your are Gulliver !

Local lassJanuary 10th 2008.

Good that the discussion is back onto discussion of food and not my rubbish geography! I've only been a local for 8 months and get confused easily between the names of big, ugly roads...of which that area is blessed with many! It is the m602 of course, not the more pictureque east lancs - but it's still funny and kind of ace that they've got a terrace overlooking it! Re Bad new year eve experience. I think that all the best restaurants can be a complete let down for Christmas or new year. Jam Street Cafe, Marmalade and Obsidian being goodies that went v. bad at peak, holiday times! But normally v good!

NeilJanuary 10th 2008.

Agree with all the positive comments (and the fact that it's by the train station with tram stop a depressing five minute walk away). Easily better food than anything I've had recently in Chinatown. It's definitely not pretentious, just well designed, clean and - in my experience - offering great and friendly service. The bar upstairs is good as well. Smiths next door is pretty good and there's nothing wrong with the Top House pub opposite.

EmmaJanuary 10th 2008.

This is an excellent restaurant. The food and service is superb, it's elegant and modern inside but subtle, it's slightly more pricey than your average chinese but that's because it's far from average.. it's really quite irrelevant where it's next to or overlooking... i tend to eat and talk when I am in a restaurant,not worry about which motorway i can see if I look through the window or balcony... can the complete gimp who said it was pretentious just stay away and leave it to people who have taste. China town and the rest of them should take note...

RobJanuary 10th 2008.

It might be right next to the train station, but it is most certainly NOT next to the tram stop and it overlooks the M602 not the East Lancs!You have to wonder whether the reviewer and previous poster have actually been there???If you don't believe me just look at the restaurant's own map.

Sarah BJanuary 10th 2008.

Agreed the food is excellent. Also agreed, the tram station is a slightly off putting walk up Church Street but well worth it. Try asking for the soft shell crabs which aren't necessarily on the menu but are to die for. And, as for the "pretentious" statement, what's wrong with injecting a little bit of much needed glam into Eccles? I enjoyed a cocktail on the veranda after a delicious meal in Summer and found it a really nice touch.... And if you do choose to stare at the shops instead of enjoying the experience with your friends/family, the Top House Pub and Charity Shop are a feast for the eyes.

GemJanuary 10th 2008.

I love Pacifica it makes working in the gloomy offices behind the crack den that much bearable

PabloJanuary 10th 2008.

This a gem of a chinese restaurant, for those who don't wanrt to catch the tram their is ample of car parking toward the rear of the restaurant. Great food, atmoshpere and service with a smile. Possibly the finest chienese in the area. Do yourself a favour and try this one soon.

KathrynJanuary 10th 2008.

We had a takeaway on New years eve and I was very dissapointed. This may have been something to do with it being news years eve. It seemed to have all been pre-cooked and kept heated for along time - very dry and small portions. You only get 10% off the normal menu prices for Take away making it quite expensive. It was £45.00 for a takeaway for two people and it was nothing special. I wish I had gone to Tung Fong in Worlsey now. I will give the restaurant a go though as it does look lovely.

Local lassJanuary 10th 2008.

As someone relatively local was delighted with the opening of Pacifica and even more impressed when the food actually delivers on the rather swanky exterior/interior. I'd disagree with the tag 'pretentious' - it's not got any airs and graces. It's just slightly...er posh I suppose if that's what you call good service, immaculate, trendy interior, superb food. It's a shame if the locals can't cope with a 21st century dining experience! The terrace overlooking the east lancs is quite funny but God bless em for being brave/ambitious enough to do this. Mind you, if you ignore the noise, the sunsets over Salford are quite something. It's a bit pricey but you get what you pay for. Would really recommend - and it is RIGHT next to the tram station and I'm no Gulliver!

VJanuary 10th 2008.

I agree, whole heartedley with Emma!! I have been to pacifica many times and love everything about it especially the stylish plates and cutlery by villeroy and boch. I would much prefer to come to Eccles than the often smelly, no parking spaces avaiable and rodent infested china town!!

David McCandlessJanuary 10th 2008.

Rob is spot on with his comments, next to train not tram station and East Lancs is a couple of miles away. But the tram staion at least is only a couple of minutes walk, and the restaurant is very good.

AnonymousJanuary 10th 2008.

Wwith reviews like this no wonder we have trouble getting people to come to Eccles. surrounding areas Ellesmere Park, Monton & Worsley people all eat at Pacifica & Smiths next door. We are sick to death of negative reports on the people of Eccles, Salford Council refuse to regenerate & give more money to ECCLES. THANK YOU PACIFICA & SMITHS for having faith & bringing Eccles some needed & wanted Class.

NeilJanuary 10th 2008.

...And this reminds me...I nominated Pacifica for the best Chinese well before Christmas. Was there ever a winner? I remember the Indian one being anbnounced but not the Chinese? Do I get £100.00 by default?

FranJanuary 10th 2008.

Did your gran marry Fred?

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