We Think We've Found The Best Sando In London
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Obviously we shouldn't get too attached.
London venues come and go. Restaurants, bars, concert halls, beloved Tirolean fondue cabins open, dazzle and close again in an ouroboros of old and new that should have made us wary of falling hard for somewhere like Pacific.
Shaun Presland's Oz-Japanese residency on Heddon Street wears its temporariness on its sleeve. But even knowing it's predestined to finish at the end of February, and even with no future plans announced — this one we really want to get attached to.
The menu's a mix of fresh, bright flavours and big, deep-fried richness, high-acidity dressings and high-umami marinades. At a time of year when it's very hard to get excited about more sprouts, Pacific blows our minds with a £7 sharing bowl of kimchi brussels, sticky smokiness layered with vinegary kick. From the first sprout, hearts are lost, eyes are rolled, we stop the faintest pretence that we care about catching up and stop talking to each other altogether in favour of just flinging brassicas into our faces as fast as chopsticks allow.
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By the end of the evening that might still be our favourite dish, but it's a close run thing. The wagyu cheeseburger gyzoza — taut-skinned little parcels of insane richness — and the hiramasa kingfish sashimi, zingy with fennel and slick with spicy, citrusy koshu, are both up there. And the monkfish katsu sando promptly outshines every other katsu, every other monkfish and every other sando we've had in London recently with its strata of softness and crunch, with its mustardy kick layered with tart, ketchupy tonkatsu.
Pacific isn't flawless, we keep trying to remind ourselves. The miso toothfish (tender, and marinaded into a steaky richness) could use some sides with it; the chirashi salad, still great, feels underpowered compared to how hard the rest of the menu's punching; the Australian wine list's alluring but could do with some options in the £20s. But it's a memorably great menu and if Pacific were a permanent fixture on Heddon Street, we expect we'd find ourselves dedicating a worrying amount of time and disposable income to the monkfish katsu, the sprouts and the gyoza.
Pacific's here for a good time, not a long one. Such a good time, though. Here's hoping it finds a more lasting home in London.
Pacific is at 10 Heddon Street till the end of February 2020. Pacific, 10 Heddon Street, W1B 4BX.
Last Updated 28 January 2020