Pacific Plaza has been billed as the new Oriental City, a place I still miss ever since it closed almost two years ago. Last Saturday, a couple friends and I headed up to Wembley in search of it and we certainly didn’t expect to find it sitting between a number of giant bed and bath shops in Wembley Park Retail Park, located in the shadow of Wembley Stadium. It’s quite easy to get to, it being close to a number of bus stops and a short walk from Wembley Stadium Rail or Wembley Park underground station.
The main draw at Oriental City was the fantastic food court and I think Pacific Plaza has recreated that nicely on the first floor, albeit on a slightly smaller scale. As for stalls, there are SeleraMu (Malaysia), Hot Korean, NP Star Snack Bar (Malaysian/Singaporean/Japanese/desserts), Nambu Donburi-Ya, Spicy Thai, China House (dim sum and lots of Sichuan and roast meats), Sawadee Thai and Shan (Asian?).
From SeleraMu, we tried this nasi lemak (rice cooked with coconut milk and various little dishes).
This was excellent and one of the best dishes on the table. There was a good coconut milk scent in the rice, the sambal spicy but not overly sweet, and the fried chicken was dry yet crispy with moist meat. The ikan bilis (little anchovies) were not freshly fried which was a bit of a downer but overall, a very good nasi lemak.
Another winner was this takoyaki from the Snack Bar (the humourously pushy salesman in the front gave me a deal! 9 for the price of 8 – 3 for each of us apparently). If you’re not familiar with them, they’re balls of grilled tender batter filled with a chunk of boiled octopus (the tako) and topped with mayonnaise and okonomiyaki sauce. These were cooked fresh when I ordered and took a little while to come but they were worth the wait – hot, tender and so moreish.
This kimchi jeon (pancake) from the Korean stall also went down a treat – lots of punchy kimchi in it.
Other tasty little dishes we tried included a spicy fried chicken and bibimbap from the Korean stall (both alright) and an equally alright but I don’t regret buying it mamak kway teow goreng (Indian-style fried flat rice noodles) with lots of prawns from SeleraMu. In fact, we didn’t have any major lows on the table – everything was definitely tasty.
Not everything is ready in the food court: yet to open are a juice bar, a Vietnamese stall, a Japanese ramen stall and an Indian Vegetarian stall. There are a few kiosks still free too.
On the ground floor, there’s both the excellent Japanese tableware shop that used to be at Oriental City (now called Doki Japanese Tableware) and a new Japanese bakery called Tetote Factory. This latter is just a tiny slip of a place (most of the space is the working bakery – you can watch as they form the buns and bake them) but the smells emanating are just amazing. They’re all so friendly too and happily consented to my snapping away in there.
Loaves of various breads, little individual buns (both sweet and savoury) and cakes are all beautifully displayed on the counter. I left with one each of the two buns below (fig & orange and a curry bun) as well as a thick slice of coffee and hazelnut brioche. The buns were beautiful – lots of moist fig chunks in a proper chewy, crusty bun and the curry bun was chock full of a thick Japanese curry. Less successful was that brioche slice as it needed more egg and sugar for me.
Though it’s still quite out of the way for most Londoners and it’s smaller than Oriental City was, I reckon Pacific Plaza is still worth a visit. And it will be even better when the supermarket opens on the ground floor – and I’ll definitely be back!
Photos of all that we ate and all the shops and stalls too can be found in this Flickr photoset. There are a few great posts on Pacific Plaza also on the blog Will Eat For Money: an early visit and a more recent one here.