The Pacific, Drayton, Portsmouth | Restaurant review
WITH the recent – and welcome – heatwave in this country you could be forgiven for believing you are abroad during these warm, heady evenings.
Or maybe it is just wishful thinking as the prospect of a foreign holiday seems ever more unlikely.
Either way your Dish Detective decides to use their tastebuds to be transported to Thailand on one such pleasant night.
In truth the real destination is less exotic as their latest venture takes them to Drayton, Portsmouth – although in the recently-opened eatery The Pacific, in Havant Road, the enticing fragrance of spices lingers in the air.
Furnished with sleek wooden flooring, minimal low lighting and vibrant floral displays – not to mention a tank of tropical fish – it is definitely a charming venue.
Your Dish Detective and their companion are welcomed by friendly staff and directed to a quiet table in one of the room’s corners.
Sadly tonight we are not guests at the centrepiece sunken table, which from a distance appears similar to the conversation pits of the 1970s – perfect for large groups.
Before perusing the food menu we are minded to try a cocktail, as the specialities of The Pacific are after all, Thai food, sushi and cocktails.I opt for a blushing lotus (£6.95), which seems to be a twist on a classic French martini and is made up of raspberry vodka, raspberry liqueur and pineapple juice.
It is delicious, as expected, but can prove deadly as the alcohol is hard to detect among the sweet flavours.
My companion orders a Thai gin and tonic (£7.95) comprising kaffir lime leaf-infused gin, honey, lemon and tonic water – which he declares to be refreshing.
There is plenty of choice – both for meat eaters and vegetarians – with a range of authentic curries, noodle dishes, soups and rice, and a choice of chicken, pork, beef, duck and seafood.
As a lifelong fan of massaman curry I order the vegetable version of this (£9.50).
It is delightfully creamy and topped with plenty of peanuts. The vegetables, including potatoes, are cooked to perfection and not overcooked as can sometimes be the case.
Across the table my friend is served a chicken red curry (£9.75). He praises the sauce – making sure there is none left by the end.
In a bid to not over order, as it is easy to do, we share a jasmine rice (£3).
This is plenty between us and acts as the ideal carby addition to our curries, soaking up the sauces.
On the side – although it is listed as a starter – we also have the tofu satay (£5.95).
This comes as four skewers of crispy fried tofu in a red curry marinade, served with peanut sauce.
The tofu is lovely and crispy, without being greasy, and also comes with vegetables on the skewer – adding a sweetness.
Other starters that look just as tempting are the vegetable spring rolls (£5.50) and the som tum (£6.50).
Perhaps the one downside to the food is it is so delicious that we don’t leave any room for dessert.
Although we do indulge in a few more drinks as the liquid menu at The Pacific is too good to ignore – a special mention to the array of gins that are available.
There’s no denying that our curries are the real highlight of the evening and will have us coming back for more in the future.
And with a trip to Thailand definitely out of the question for the foreseeable future, The Pacific at Drayton might have to be an alternative for the time being.
Tel: ()23) 9281 1114
(ratings out of five)