My last visit to the Alchemist (for the blog) was to it’s new sister site in Media City. And whilst the views were stunning, the staff lovely, and the drinks as I’d have expected, the kitchen hadn’t quite found it’s feet.
So it’s beyond time I visited one of the older sites to remind myself of what it can do. And in this case, it was the site on New York Street, behind Piccadilly Plaza.
For the uninitiated (are there any left) Alchemist offers an extensive cocktail list and food that takes a little bit from everywhere. Chicken in a basket, gyoza, steak, tostadas, burgers, it likes a little bit of everything, meaning it’s easy for a night out with mates, a date night, or just a quick bite before you move on. There’s pretty much something for everyone, including vegan and veggie options.
For me, it was the perfect excuse to catch up with a friend, introduce her to a couple of favourites on the menu, and try some of the brand new offerings for summer.
Drinks wise, we opted for cocktails. The list leans a little heavier on gin than it used to, and many are still a little overly sweet for me, including the Screwball (ahh childhood memories), Key Lime Pie and Battenberg. However, despite it’s name, Chase the Rainbow is citrussy and refreshing with Chase Pink Grapefruit and Marmalade – utterly perfect for summer, and my date happily indulged in 3.5oz of Happiness – with Portobello Road Gin, Briottet Raspberry. Vermouth and citrus – served in a silver flask.
Drinks sorted, it was onto food, and time to try all the new things on the menu.
The PopQuorn are a little addictive – Southern style coated Quorn balls, served with Sriracha mayonnaise, especially when surrounded by other little nibbles.
The Duck Gyoza with a sweet chilli dipping sauce are a bit of a classic, but still hit the spot, disappearing almost as fast as the Halloumi fingers with sweet mustard mayo.
Onto mains, and perhaps my only disappointment. The Breaded Haddock Sandwich was very bread heavy, meaning the fish was a little lost in the butty, drowned out by dry bread. A pretty impressive feat given the fish in question.
My date’s tuna steak by comparison was the complete opposite, plenty of tuna, enough flavour to stand up to the fish without dominating it.
Thankfully the sides made up for my disappointing sandwich and I drowned my sorrows in Salt & Pepper fries and Summer Greens.
For pudding, there was only one option for us. Cotton Candy Baked Alaska.
Intensely sweet though it was (so much so we barely made a dent) for show, it could not be faulted. I mean who doesn’t like a little fire with their afters?
The Alchemist is what it is – a little sweet maybe – but it’s consistent, and easy to find something for everyone. Now if we could just fix the fish butty, and maybe expand the desserts to include a couple of less intensely sweet options (please?) I’ll be in that little bit more often.
This afternoon meal was supplied for free by The Alchemist. As ever, this doesn’t guarantee a positive review (if anything, I tend to be a harsher critic). The service was excellent, the drinks were great, the