Pacific Plaza, Wembley Park (A New Oriental City?)

Monday, 7 December 2009 | |


I don't know how your weekends panned out when you were a kid, but for me and others who grew up in north west London, Saturdays and Sundays meant one thing: Yaohan Plaza, which later became Oriental City and eventually became a vast empty complex on the Edgware Road in Colindale. The demise of OC, as it is colloquially known, was one of the most disappointing stories for citizens of the aforementioned areas and those from around London who would visit from far reaches of the city. Luckily the old shop owners and restaurateurs fought hard and some even reopened in different locations, though the feeling was that it just wasn't the same. After reading a blog post by meemalee which suggested a new opening for Utsuwa Tableware would be imminent, my brother and I decided to check it out for ourselves, living only a short walk away from the Wembley City complex.

Surrounded by giants of middle England's favourite superstores, such as Land of Leather, Carpet Right and Wickes, Pacific Plaza evokes the old charm of Oriental City from the first glimpse; strangely located in the shadow of Wembley Stadium in a retail park, but a gem nonetheless.

A sign indicates that the Plaza opened on 5th December, though some of the restaurants have been open since the 1st of December.

As soon as we entered, the smell of bread filled the air and we turned left into one of the only store-fronts that was up and running. Tetote factory is a Japanese bakery and coffee shop, with about 7/8ths of the store dedicated to the baking area, equipment and coffee machines. We tried a couple of pastries to see how they fared.

Curry pan was great. Crispy outside from the panko breadcrumbs which gave way to a soft, doughy bread inside and then the curry filling, which was subtly spiced and very more-ish. A great rendition, better than the version at the Japan Centre and Wonderful Patisserie, as points of reference.

Epi was also very, very good. Something I've not tried before, this was a sort of sourdough plait, filled with a cheese (cheddar, perhaps) and studded with bits of smoky bacon. Most easily compared to good Neopolitan pizza crust, this was chewy, salty and greasy…in a good way.

Finally, we tried the Custard pan. Another success, this time the custard filling came in a satisfyingly soft bun topped with three flaked almond pieces which gave a pleasing crunch to the overall consistency. The custard filling was essentially a creme patissiere, smooth and flecked with vanilla beans.

We then headed to doki, the new tableware company that was previously Utsuwa. This has a larger range of plates, bowls and cups than the Japan Centre, with pleasing prices as for now a lot of the items are half price. Great for Christmas gift buying, especially the tea sets which come with a teapot and cups.

Also open on the ground floor is O's Beauty, which deals with all things…beautiful. Hairdressing, waxing, manicuring. You name it, they do it.

Most of the other places on the ground floor were unoccupied at the time of writing, but there was a sign that one of the shops (8am Healthcare) was going to be selling 'Chinese herbal medicines and acupuncture'.

Finally on the bottom floor, a large space will be occupied by a supermarket, just as with OC and it's J-Mart.

Walking upstairs reveals even more to get excited about, with a  glimpse into the past via a food court that resembles its Colindale cousin. The similarity stops with the plaza type setting though, as this is a much newer and shinier edition. As of now, only two places had any signs of life: NP Star Snack Bar, which will do takoyaki and will open at the end of this week (7th-13th December).

The other restaurant open on the first floor is a place called Hot Korean, which does the usual Korean classics, such as galbi, bulgogi and kimchee.

The Korean rice punch was something I'd never tried before but fell instantly in love with. With my first sip it was quite like what I'd imagine drinking the water you wash rice in would taste like, if you added a sack of sugar. Also quite like a cup of sugar cane, but more ricey.

The bulgogi deopbap was slices of short ribs, marinated in sugar, sesame oil, garlic and soy sauce, then stir fried with julienned carrots, spring onions, courgettes and cabbage, then topped with sesame seeds. Served with a mound of sticky rice, this dish was garlicky, smoky, sweet and delicious. The rice was pleasingly bland, picking up all of the flavours of the marinade. At £6.50 it's still rather cheap and in line with old OC prices. Dishes range from £2-4 for starters, then £4-8 for larger plates.

By the end of this week there should be some more places opened and hopefully by the beginning of next year, there will be a new destination for foodies to go in north west London, apart from the wonderful Alisan which has great dim sum nearby.

Doki Limited
Japanese Tableware
020 8903 0235
Open 7 days a week 10.00-18.30

tetote factory
Japanese Bakery
020 8903 2559
Open 10.00-19.00 except Tuesday

Pacific Plaza
Unit 16
The Junction
Wembley Retail Park
Engineers Way


M. A. Salha said...

I agree with most of what you wrote. But that's probably because we discussed what we thought before you published this post. I really enjoyed the custard pan. Mmm.

meemalee said...


Thanks so much for checking this out for us - looks so promising - am so excited :)

Ferret said...

It looks like a couple more places are now open in the food court upstairs, and there are signs that more are moving in. Finding this review and Pacific Plaza have made my year. I missed OC so much it's about time we had a replacement.

Foodycat said...

Looks like it's worth visiting. Better than Wing Yip, do you think?

Ibzo said...

Thanks for the update Ferret. Visited again today and tried out the Cantonese place right at the end of the food hall (the one with the duck and pork hanging up). Pretty good dim sum there, though the skins were a bit too thick on our har gau. Will try some more items.

Foodycat - It's a great place to visit to eat and perhaps buy some tableware. The supermarket will open soon so we'll see how that is. Personally I think Wing Yip might have an edge due to its size but we'll see :)

ManishC said...

Big fan of the old Oriental City, delighted to hear this had opened. Went there this evening and had amazing Cumin Lamb from the fist stall as you walk in. Had Thai food, dim sum, Korean as well. All very good and will be just as good as the old OC when fully functioning. Rumours of a noodle place, a Caribbean, a Piri Piri chicken place and a Vietnamese. The Malaysian guy (Roti konai place) is being convinced to come back. Official opening around mid-Feb.

Ibzo said...

Thanks for the comment, Manish. I tried the cumin lamb from Shan today. Brilliant! Such a great flavour to it, and an incredibly generous portion. Can't wait until it's completely open!

Kake said...

I wasn't going to mention this since I thought you might have already seen it on Twitter — but the RGL writeup of Pacific Plaza is here. There's also a Flickr group!

Ibzo said...

I'm glad you did mention it, Kake! I saw it on twitter but forgot that I was going to link the RGL write up on my post. The flickr group is a great idea. I'll get my girlfriend to add her pictures of dim sum to it!

Kake said...

Aw, your linking text is making me blush :) Look forward to seeing the photos on the Flickr group (though I should make it clear that Jag (Route79) is the clever person behind the group, not me).

lindaudkass said...

Being at the very first opening day of the old orientle city,missing it so much,i couldnt allow the opening day of this new place to past without me being there. what a pleasure to see the familiar faces in the japanese pottery shop, within minuets my arms were full of half price delights, and have since returned for more. i made my way up the the food floor and had food from the only open section, i had to wait about 20mins but it arrived fresh and so very tasty,just like home cooking. \my only complaint was, i could have eaten more of it, and the price had gone up a tad. but for a breif moment amongst all the banging of the workman still arranging the new units. i was transformed back to the orientle city and the loud hussel and bussle of the food court that loveinly took over any quite conversation. that was all part of the orientle experience. i look forward to seeing all units open and haveing the new grocery offering out favourite goodies. overall the pacific plaza is a good achievment of what we had and im going to become another weekly visitor.

-Linda Hender

Alex said...

Hi Ibrahim,

This is Alex from Pacific Plaza here.

Thanks for your wonderful blog post. I have some great news for you, we are launching a new website and Facebook fan page, to go with our grand launch.

Would it be OK to use some of your excellent images on our Facebook page and temporary page?

Many thanks,


Ibzo said...

Hey Alex.

That's brilliant to hear, I can't wait! Of course you can use my images, I'd be honoured if you did.

Catherine said...

Does anybody know what happened to the excellent beauty salon in Oriental City? Jennifer was a Chinese beautician there, very good. I think the salon was called Prime Beauty. Would appreciate your help, her facials were out of this world!

Raj Kumar said...

hi ,
I was in Pacific Plaza on Sunday and lots of shops have opened up. Tried the Malaysian place-SeleraMu- food is very good and it is halal as well. Would definetely go back for the Malaysian food as the murtabak was great
SeleraMu will be launching their own website on Tuesday (9th Feb) so keep an eye out for that as well

Alex said...

Thanks everyone for your positive comments.

We're working on our new website before the grand launch.

In the meantime please check out our Facebook page where you can find out our latest news:!/pages/Pacific-Plaza/321791545585?ref=ts

@Catherine, there is a new Chinese beauty salon at Pacific Plaza!

Anonymous said...

hi, has been launched now. If you would like to post a comment on the food or the web site it will be great

Catherine said...

Thanks Alex. Do you know if that beauty salon was previously at Oriental City??
And do you have any link to their services? treatment list/prices/opening times, etc. Thanks!

Dave said...

Is Pacific Plaza fully open now? If not, when is the official opening date?

Anonymous said...

This place looks brilliant. Just like the spirit of Yaohan! I can't wait to go and will bring as many friends as possible ^_^

Anonymous said...

sorry but this place sucks. atmosphere is crap. its in the middle of warehouse wembley . its basically just a convenience place to eat but not as friendly. also a lot smaller. we shall see, but its not the same. theres no toilets either. not a patch on oriental city. sorry.

Ibzo said...

Not sure who you're apologising to, anon, it's not my establishment. You're entitled to your opinion. I can understand where you're coming from, it can seem pretty soulless at times but it's getting busier, so will have more of a buzz. Saturdays are easily the best days and it has the air of the old OC when it's busy.

There are toilets, by the way. I'm not sure how you missed them, given it is, as you say, so small.

Not a patch on OC? Agreed, but it hasn't even opened properly, so give it a chance.

alex.wood said...

Hello Anonymous,

Thanks for your comment.

As Ibzo pointed out we do have toilets, I'm sorry you missed them.

We are still growing, you may have heard we will be expanding into the two units either side. But things are still changing and we hope to exceed the greatness of Oriental City one day.

If you'd be so kind to come back again some day, I'll happily offer you a discount voucher.

Pacific Plaza

Anonymous said...

I went in here for first time yesterday and had a look around. The beauty place is called Qs beauty and went in and was offered cup of tea and lady working there is called Luiza said it was in colindale before. phone no is07595 948976 or 02087953661.

Domsmum said...

Lousy experience at Selera Mu -
On our first visit to Pacific Plaza a couple of weeks ago, we ordered four plates of Nasi lemak (our favourite Malaysian dish) from SeleraMu - had to wait over an HOUR for the food to be ready - I'm not joking here! - and then when it finally arrived, the rice was totally uncooked. You know what uncooked rice tastes like - it was like biting into peanuts or something- We had to send it back and find food from the other stalls - given that it was a special occasion and we went there with family to celebrate a birthday, made the whole experience worse. We were starving at the end of it all. Got some food from Sawadee -should have gone to Sawadee in the first place - the food was delicious. We are so crazy about Malaysian food that we thought lets give Selera Mu a try - I mean have you ever heard of an Asian food takeaway taking over an hour to serve up food and at the end of it not even know how to cook rice??? You can imagine how peed off we were.

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