Pacific Oriental 1

52 Threadneedle Street , London, EC2R 8AY

020 7638 6572

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  • Pacific Oriental
  • Pacific Oriental

SquareMeal Review of Pacific Oriental

Notable as one of the City’s biggest and most grandiose banking hall conversions, Pacific Oriental is arranged on two levels with a discreet mezzanine and a semi-formal downstairs dining area. The versatile brasserie menu covers a lot of air miles, taking in salmon and prawn panko with katsu dressing, wok-fried frog’s legs with chilli and French beans, sashimi platters, Thai green curries, Mongolian lamb with caramelised onion and pan-fried red mullet with crispy squid fritters and wasabi purée. The odd report of long waits or brusque service is the exception rather than the rule, but you can always opt for the rather more intimate comforts of the adjoining bar, which is famed for its intriguing cocktail list – an eclectic choice covering everything from Japanese bellinis to Gibsons and sidecars. There are some fine French wines and impressive sakés, too.

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5.1

Food & Drink: 5.6

Service: 4.5

Atmosphere: 6.0

Value: 4.4

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

Siobhan W. 30 January 2014

On first looks the décor of Pacific Oriental is impressive. It's large, spacious and has an authentic feel to it. The tables are spaced out so you don't feel cramped in the slightest. On second look there are some parts to the restaurant that need work, such as peeling paint but this was only minor. Service was a problem for us, as the waitress we had seemed to be quite stressed and was quite short with us. We informed her that we needed to be back for another meeting so it would be great if we could get in and out as fast as possible. To this she was very understanding and said that it would be fine but then didn't follow through, because when we went to order our wine and food, she took the drinks order then disappeared for a while before coming back to get the food order (without the drinks may I add). The wine list is impressive, with a large variety available. We had a great bottle of Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon for £25, which was extremely reasonable. The food was delicious. All portions were large (maybe a little too large – I couldn't finish mine and I'm a big eater) but that's not a bad thing. The service needs work but it definitely would not put me off eating here again, as the food and drink overrides this and the restaurant was full during a busy lunchtime.

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 0.0

Rosie V. 11 August 2013

The cocktails are great and the menu looks tempting but don't be sucked in… …the service and the food are dreadful! To be fair our starters including duck gyoza and soft shell crab were passable (though there was no mango in the prawn and green mango spring rolls), the service however was surly from the start and only got worse. We waited forever for our mains (despite the restaurant being empty) and when they finally arrived they all looked & tasted as though they had been waiting on the pass for at least an hour. A skin had formed on the Japanese beef curry and all of the dishes were congealing and cold. Our waiter informed us that the monkfish teriyaki was supposed to be cold (we weren't totally convinced) but I'm certain that Pad Thai, Mee Goreng and rice should be served hot! The black cod was very tasty (but also tiny and at £22 not exactly value for money) but the rest of our mains were very poor – I've seldom had worse take-aways. Have a cocktail at the bar, enjoy the surroundings and then get a take-away on your way home. At the end of the night you'll be happier and a whole lot richer than if you'd decided to eat here!

Food & Drink: 0.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 0.0

Value: 0.0

Jingo L. 02 January 2013

Shocking experience, will never be back. In the second week of December 2012, my husband and I and two friends arrived at the restaurant at about 18:15. We were shown upstairs to our table and were advised that there was a large party (12 or so diners) who were there for a Christmas do, and if we wanted to avoid a delay we should order before them. We appreciated the advice and quickly ordered our starters and mains together, before the party did. We enjoyed our starters of crispy aromatic duck. And waited for the mains to arrive. And waited, and waited. We waited for almost 90 minutes for the food to arrive – in this time the party of 12 had their starters and mains and another table of two who arrived after us received their food and had already finished their entire meal before we even glimpsed our main course. Not once did the waiting staff come over to explain the delay. We had to convince a waiter to come and explain the delay. Our glasses were long empty and we advised that if patrons wait this long, it is customary for a drink to be offered on the house. The bartender said ok, she will check if that can be arranged and she never came back. Another 15 minutes passed and we asked to see the manager, who was by no means a manager at all! His attitude was absolutely disgraceful. He blamed us for taking too long with our starters and said that we took too long to order – this was the same staff member who advised us to order early to avoid a delay. We let him know that we were not happy about the situation and that dozens of people had eaten already and we haven’t received so much as an apology. We asked to speak to his manager, and all he said that he was the manager. The staff informed us that the real manager was having a dinner with some important people and could not tend to our concerns. What use is it employing a manager who cannot even fill his capacity as the manager of the establishment? The food eventually arrived and my order was incorrect. I ordered the Laksa, which on the menu comes with prawns and fish cakes – my bowl was nearly cold and had tofu and nothing else in it. Not one staff member came to check if everything was in order – I had to go to the bar and let your staff know my order was incorrect. The waiter then tried to convince me that what I had was prawn and fishcakes – what an absolute insult, there was not one piece of fish in that bowl. I asked for the dish to be removed from the bill. And I quickly lost my appetite. The only person that we believed salvaged the night was the sommelier. He, in essence tried to take on the role as manager and tried to alleviate our dissatisfaction. He was very understanding and apologetic, which is far more than anyone else was and is the right attitude to achieve customer satisfaction. He offered us a drink on the house and arranged to have the service charge removed from the bill. Both he and us were put in an extremely uncomfortable and unfair position, whereby the customer was blamed for the staff’s mistakes and he was thrust into a position of power. He did the restaurant proud.

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 2.0

Charlene M. 14 November 2012

I went to Pacific Oriental for my sister's birthday on 13th November 2012. We were sat in the private area, which at first seemed nice and private but during the night we all felt forgotten about. The only way to get someones attention was to open the curtain that they closed continually throughout the night. It was like they had forgotten we were sat there…each time they came they closed the curtain and whenever we wanted drinks etc we had to open it. We were a party of 8- the restaurant was not busy at all, there was about 30 people including those drinking at the bar. Our table was booked for 8pm…by the time we settled down and order our first round of drinks we were ready to order food at 8:30pm. Our starters did not arrive until 9:30pm…1 hour for starters in a restaurant which wasn't busy at all is just ridiculous, (in fact in ANY restaurant)…considering most of the other guest were already enjoying there meal when we arrived it was not great service. I ordered the Chicken & Beef Panko for starter… when it arrived I was bitterly disappointed. It was clearly over fried and very dry…to the point it was a struggle to take it off the skewers to eat, the sauce which accompanied it was extremely salty. I have had Katsu dressing many times before and it has never tasted the way it did last night. I'm not a huge eater, and I understand starters are not always large like a main would be, but to only receive four small pieces (about the size of a Fish Finger) was a little on the…how can I say it…'stingy' side. Once we finished our starters we had to wait a further 45mins until our main arrived!! At this point we have been here for over two hours, we were all hungry and beginning to get irritated, there wasn't so much as an apology or anything. I had to make my way to the bar just to find out why it was taking so long…to which I was told our order was taken 40minutes ago…clearly the young woman didn't know what she was talking about! As I explained the time we placed the order originally and that we have in fact been here since 8pm. Finally the food arrived, which was not hot and two of the dishes had to be returned to get reheated…with one on of the guest not getting what they asked for. I ordered the Lamb Massaman for my main, which was nice…but nothing to rave about personally. I've heard such good reviews about Pacific Oriental which was why it was booked for this occasion. Sadly I will not recommend this establishment to anyone for a choice of dinner, but if you like a nice cocktail in the city this would be an option.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

Aude S. 21 September 2012

I went with a friend on a Thursday evening. The place was a bit noisy (it is obviously popular for its drinks), but the restaurant part was fairly quiet when we arrived and was nicely decorated. We were greatly impressed by our cocktails: my Sake Raspberry was simply divine, not overly sweet, and with a subtle kick to it. The food, however, was a bit of a different matter. The menu, for a start, is not extensive. Our starter (duck & tamarind gyozas) was disappointing: the filling was tasty, but the gyozas were falling apart and would have tasted better if they had been fried instead of simply steamed. My ‘crispy fried seared tuna’ was really nice, but for £16, I expected a bit more than just a few slices of the preparation without any accompaniment. My friend had chicken yaki udon – the dish was really good, but was similar to the Wagamama's version of the dish. Our side dishes were equally hit-and-miss: the chilli salted fries were really nice, but the chilli green beans were fairly bland. On the plus side, the service was very good: the waiters were on the ball and could make recommendations. I am glad we went, but I do not think I would go back, you can probably get tastier food in that price range elsewhere.

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 1.0

Sarah G. gold reviewer 20 December 2011

Unfortunately I have nothing good to report – the service was appalling and the food was average. After reviewing the bill and working out that before we had even ordered our food we had accrued £30 worth of water, prawn crackers (that we had not asked for) and service charge! We sat down at 12.30 – our starters came over a period of 45 minutes and then had to wait a further 45 minutes for the main course and did not leave the restaurant until gone 3pm! Coffee and tea was offered complimentary to compensate for the late arrival of our food but it was cold! It's a shame as I suspect the restaurant could potentially be great but some work needs to be done before they get there!

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 2.0

Sabrina's Passions platinum reviewer 29 July 2010

Having been here a couple of times before, my third visit definitely wasnt as great as the previous two visits. The restaurant itself is absolutely huge and god only knows what it gets like when it becomes full. I always eat on the ground floor where food is pan-asian and pretty decent. Everything from Nasi Goreng to Thai Green Curry, it tends to cover all bases for those who want a decent asian/oriental meal. The prices are a little unecessarily high, buts that the city for you, isnt it? Packed with overpriced eateries because £50 per head is a cheap meal to most City types, especially as most of them tend to expense everything, whether legitimate or not! The service is a bit annoying, they are either smothering you or basically you are being drip fed. Rice… then curry… then that drink you ordered 20 mins ago… then cutlery. Its not as polished as it needs to be, but its a damn site better than Wagamamas formulaic venues, if indeed Pan-Asian food is what you are craving. Cocktails are ridiculously overpriced and very badly made. Stick to spirits and mixers, keeping it simple. This is definitely not where you go to experience drinks made by skilled mixologists!

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

Phil P. bronze reviewer 06 March 2010

The food at PO is always of a high standard, and the whole ‘fusion’ approach doesn't spoil the fact that what's served is good quality food with strong hints of the Orient. The platters for sharing are a great way to kick off a lunch, and if you haven't tried them before, check out the teas! when the bar downstairs is busy, a real buzz is generated, and the venue lifts a couple of extra notches.

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 1.0

Ian F. 21 January 2010

Took a friend there today at his suggestion. Not my first visit, though could easily be my last. Starters (sashimi / sushi / dumplings) were very good, though a bit of a wait. My friend's main course was fine, but mine was more or less inedible. Basically consisted of tough raw beef floating around in a (very!) sugary liquid with a poached egg and some almost-cooked udon noodles. Before I could eat the beef, I had to call for a plate and a sharp knife – but (in retrospect) I wish I hadn't, because it took a considerable quantity of green tea to take away the almost saccharine-sweetness of the dish. The wine list is not cheap, and our first bottle of Cotes du Rhone (£35 !) was – though not corked – very dodgy. The waiter was not keen to change it, but the sommelier (after lecturing me about the problems of C-d-R in 2004) did agree to change it for a mediocre bottle of Rioja (£33!!!). I guess he was doing his best. In the end, after a friendly conversation with the restaurant manager, during which I really did try to pay for the starters, I ended up only paying for the drinks. Overall, a very valiant effort to keep me happy on a busy day – but if I had paid for it all, it would have been a very disappointing meal.

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

Tanya D. gold reviewer 29 October 2009

What a shame, its such an impressive and glorious setting, I absolutely loved the room but to then ruin it with overpriced cocktails (£15!!!), dreadful main courses and a huge screen showing SKY News seems bizarre. The starters were good but the main courses just had an odd mixture of flavours. The wait staff were lovely, knowledgable and efficient. Sort out the food and get rid of the TV screen and this will be a London WOW factor restaurant!

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