Grand Pacific, Queens Hotel, Leeds – Restaurant Review
By Steve Crabtree, July 2022
The abundance of places to eat in Leeds is one of the reasons I love the city. Street food, fine dining, hearty meals and healthy options…whatever you want, whatever you feel like, you’ll find it here.
And if you’re getting the train into Leeds, you don’t have to venture far from the train station to sample lovely cuisine. The lavishly decorated Grand Pacific restaurant at The Queens Hotel has been open just over a year since its overhaul. It’s a stunning place to dine, and a spot that leaves you feeling more than satisfied.
My friend and I chose to check the place out on an early Friday evening after work. Neither of us had ever eaten here before, and although I’d seen the thousands of times over the years, I’d never really thought about its restaurant.
Entering from the front, you’re hit by a very elegant bar. Almost Raffles style. And as we walked through to the circular main restaurant, and we were shown to a table at the side of the round. Our table consisted of a couple of high, enclosed chairs that were different from the Grand Pacific norm as you look around. It was quite the eye-catching table actually, in a very nice looking restaurant.
We sat down, and noticed that quality of everything around us. The cutlery, the fixtures, fittings and finishes. Even the menus were a high-end kind of feel, everything about this place felt high-end.
After asking for table water, we took a look over the menu. The options sounded lovely, mainly a spectacular selection of British dishes, with an Asian twist. It was one of those moments where you could have had three of four of each course. But, that would just be greedy.
The standout options for me was the Duck Gyoza starter (£6.50), and Roast Cod Loin for my main course at £18.95. My friend plumped for the Thai fish Cake to start at £6.95, and Lamb Massaman Curry (£18.50). We also ordered a bottle of Ribbonwood Savignon Blanc (£34), before sitting back and catchingt up with life.
We were in Grand Pacific for 6.30pm, and there were a few couples, young and not so young enjoying a night out. There was a party of around 12 celebrating in the centre of the room too. It certainly seemed to be a spot for everyone.
Our waiter returned to tell us that the Ribbonwood wine wasn’t in stock, and offered us a bottle of Cloudy Bay Te Koko Savingnon Blanc instead. This bottle wasn’t offered on the actual menu, which I found a tad odd, but we tried it and it was pleasant. So we enjoyed a pre-food glass of that, whilst taking obligatory photos in these chairs!
Quite quickly our starters arrived. The plates were nicely presented, and I had four good sized Duck Gyoza’s to go at, all looking delicious. Accompanied with a drizzle of sweet potato miso and a hoisin sauce, I’d picked a very flavoursome dish that tasted as nice as it looked. The gyozas were very succulent, and generously filled. It was a very pleasing start to the meal.
My friend’s Thai Fish Cakes came with pickled veg, chilli and shiso. Another decent sized portion, neither of us had a disappointing word to say about the entrees. He too enjoyed his choice, and we didn’t’ leave any remnants of any kind on our plates.
So far the food, the ambience and the décor at Grand Pacific was making for a lovely evening. I say the place is lavish, but you could also call it opulent. It had a modern feel, but with a very sea-faring-meets-art-deco look too. From a service point of view though, I felt things were a little out of synch with the rest of the experience. When we entered, we were dealt with and taken to our table very directly, and didn’t feel any welcome or warmth. And the table service was pleasant, yet slightly distant. It wasn’t bad by any stretch, but it just didn’t seem to fit in with what Grand Pacific was achieving everywhere else.
“A firesome kick”
After a short wait, our main courses arrived and as per our entrees, they looked fantastic. A delightful aroma emitted from my Roast Cod Loin, and my friend’s Lamb curry had a similar thing going on for him.
I’d chosen a side of Gunpowder potatoes (£3.95) to provide a firesome kick alongside the curried cauliflower, chickpeas and lentil dahl that came as part of my fish choice. The Indian twist on the dish is something special, elevating the taste, even enhancing the textures. A succulent piece of cod, the amount of spice was subtle enough to not overpower the fish, but strong enough to be noticed. Usually, I’ll have a fish option with a French or Medittaranean twist, but the Asian style is right up there.
Across the table, my friend’s curry came with the potential carb overkill of gunpowder potatoes, forbidden rice and roti. However, it was so well cooked, there were no worries on that score. He added a portion of Oriental Greens for £3.75 and it all got a little heated over there! There was a very spicy kick coming out of the Lamb Masaman, and the table water came in very handy at this time. It didn’t make the dish uncomfortable. With tender pieces of lamb, it was enjoyable, and went down as a big hit.
“Two lovely courses”
We’d had two lovely courses at Grand Pacific, and for some reason our sweet tooth had deserted us on this occasion. Maybe it was because we’d cleared everything off all our plates of all food? Full to the brim we were, but comfortably so.
Next time you’re in Leeds, Grand Pacific is worth checking out. It’s easy to forget there’s a restaurant here, but so worth trying to remember.
Queens Hotel, City Square, LS1 5PJ
Monday – Fri 12-11pm
Saturday & Sunday 10am-12pm