The Alchemist, Leeds

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Leeds was always a place I considered to be dated and lacked personality. My initial opinion when I turned 18 was that Leeds was a small city with predictable stores, less than chirpy people and an unsophisticated nightlife. Since the arrival of Leeds Trinity and many of the other alterations done to the down beaten town, a city which I considered to have been going down hill has been transformed into the Mecca of Nightlife within the North West and a beautiful haven for shopping and day visits. Leeds Trinity has opened up Leeds to new breed of evening dwellers and for anyone with a passion for cocktails a heightened sense of style, they all know the Alchemist is where to go.
The Alchemist at Leeds Trinity is a bar with a difference. Upon arrival, everything looks as normal as it can get for a luxe restaurant and bar, but on second glances you easily begin to notice that things aren’t all what they seem.  Bunsen burners filled with sweet smelling aromas may be seen on the bar and colour changing drinks at peoples tables. If you had a passion for science experiments at high school, it is time to rekindle your love for chemistry sets and watch some of the most skilled cocktail makers you will ever see do their magic with a set of flasks and measuring cylinders.

Me and my partner had visited the Alchemist in the past, but unfortunately with our visits being on a Saturday evening, the bar was full to capacity as any popular night club would be and the only experience we had to take away was being packed at the bar like a bunch of sardines with no-where to place our very expensive, but definitely worth it drinks. On Wednesday the 12th of February me and my wonderful fiancé decided to make our return to the Alchemist to celebrate an early Valentines Day and something I never thought would happen, passing my driving test. We drank cocktails for a few hours, were waited by the most delightful gentleman and crammed a three-course meal into our small, but expanded by the evening bellies.

Our first cocktails consisted of the Cola Bottle Libra and the Colour Changing one from the Alchemists Molecular Madness range. These creations are ‘carefully crafted’ in the secret Alchemist laboratory and according to their website, they use’ a variety of molecular drinks-making techniques to surprise, baffle and confound tastes buds in a pleasant manner’. After one sip of my Cola Bottle Libra I was in love. It can only be described by the feeling of pouring an entire packet of cola bottles into your mouth and allowing them to fizz. As I worked my way through the drink, I was greeted by various different tastes and textures, all associated with cola bottles, but in liquid format. The Alchemist really did live up to their ‘surprise and baffle’ motives. The Colour Changing one was a little science experiment of our own. We were handed little beakers with different coloured liquids and advised to pour them in a strategic order. The colours changed before our eyes, eventually leaving this pretty colour of pink that tasted very fruity.

Prior to visiting the Alchemist, I had been nursing a very bad cold that left me with no sense of taste or smell. Knowing that our meal at the Alchemist was drawing nearer, I was in a sense of panic, but when it came to the meal I was lucky that all my normal senses returned and if anything, the food reawakened all my senses with all the rich and exciting flavours. My first course hummus and dips, which can be quite a boring starter at times, but the Alchemist added lots of fresh veggies and a beautifully baked pitas to add variation to the dish. My partner went for the Moroccan Spiced Lamb Meatballs and as he took the last spoonful to his mouth, he uttered: “That is one of the best starters I have ever had.”

The second course had a lot to live up to after the sensational starter and I’m happy to say it did not disappoint. Throughout several years of dating, I have never seen my partner eat a complete steak. His common complaints are that there is ‘too much fat’ and ‘it is too grizzly’ and he would often leave half the meat resting on his plate, but at the Alchemist he ate every single bit , adding that: “This steak beats the €70 steak I bought abroad’ – the one steak he has boasted about buying and eating through the entirety of our relationship and food outings so far.  As a vegetarian, I opted for one of their many vegetarian dishes, the Halloumi half sandwich made up of juicy Halloumi pieces resting on a bed of tart beetroot relish and seeded bread and honestly, it was probably one of the best meals I had ever had. As a vegetarian, meals at restaurants are often predictable and boring, but this was far from the case.

My final course was the sticky toffee pudding and my partner opted for the Belgian waffle. It was a perfect end to the delightful meal we had. All the courses were decent sized, but all left the perfect amount of space for dessert. My toffee pudding was flavoursome and not too heavy and the Belgian waffles according to my partner ‘tasted like perfection.’

We completed our evening by having one last sneaky cocktail – with mine being my signature drink, the Strawberry Daiquiri. The Alchemist* was an evening full of pleasant surprises that left us feeling like we wanted to experience it all again. The food and cocktails arrived at our table in a prompt timing, everything tasted spectacular and shockingly, having put both our minds together, neither my partner nor me can think of anything negatives for this bar. If I could leave you with one piece of advice, it would be to visit the Alchemist mid week and truly experience the bar. Will I be turning any time soon? Definitely.The sooner, the better.



  1. I love the Alchemist! I've been a few times and the only downside being that it gets so busy and it's such a small space. Lovely terrace area though, especially on a sunny day! xx

  2. Love this! I've never been to Reading or Leeds but it's nice to live vicariously through you instead! kids activities in Leeds


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