Restaurant Opening: The Alchemist, Media City
I must admit. I’ve been waiting for The Alchemist in Media City to open.
I don’t head to Media City as often as I’d like, but when I have been over visiting the BBC, or hitting Booth’s for a little posh supermarket shopping, I’ve loved watching it grow and take shape. Almost all of the buildings at Media City are stylish and quirky, so seeing the angular frame take shape on the bridge across from the BBC to The Lowry Theatre, has been somewhat intriguing.
And my isn’t it a stunner.
As dusk falls and the sky darkens, the bright lights reflect onto the water, and it’s a sight to be seen and to view from. The view out onto the Quays features the bright lights of the BBC and ITV, and the footbridge between the two.
As you’d expect from the Alchemist, the cocktail menu is vast and playful, the food menu is smaller, but still with a good depth of range, and the venue is stylish and I’ve no doubt is the place to be as darkness falls. In fact, we were in on a Tuesday night, not exactly the biggest night for cocktails, and yet, tables were full, and the bar and kitchen were busy.
Safe to say, this site is going to do well.
Mr GFB and I began with nibbles and cocktails whilst we ogled the food menu.
Crispy coated popcorn chicken, and addictive in nature salt and pepper pork crackling accompanied our drinks. I was on the ever classic Vesper with Portobello Road Gin and Reyka Vodka (soft and smooth vodka without a hint of bite) served in it’s own hipflask, whilst Mr GFB indulged his love of rum with a Caramelised Rum Punch.
Suitably armed, we dove into the food menu. My starter was the ultimate hipster treat – panko breadcrumb coated avocado, deep fried and served with a lightly smoky chipotle mayonnaise. A firm favourite straight away. Mr GFB’s batter coated thick rings of squid were similarly moreish, the fish being soft and tender beneath the batter.
For mains, we both selected chicken. Mr GFB’s Katsu Chicken was simple, but tasty, and our shared side of salt and pepper chips was distinctly addictive. Whereas I had opted for the buttermilk chicken. Yes, I’m still trying to replace Splendid Kitchen, and failing.
It’s here I have to be open and state that my burger wasn’t up to what I expected from The Alchemist, and the manager noticed as I pulled a blackened section from the rear of my bun. Within moments, the whole plate was whisked away and replaced immediately, with a second plate.
Now that’s service.
Onto desserts, and I opted for the light citrus of the polenta cake – small but well formed, whilst Mr GFB allowed the chill in the air to influence his choice, with the sticky toffee pudding, with lashings of toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream.
The Alchemist is both perfectly placed, and well formed to fit into Media City. Whilst you can get great drinks (and bloody fantastic food) at other venues (Pier Eight and Grindsmith), this spot straddles the two sides of the Quays, it’s glamour and nighttime reputation will draw people to it for post work drinks, and party nights. The views will draw people out onto the balcony space whatever the weather, and even the loos offer perfect selfie lighting.
This venue has been well thought out, well placed, and well designed.