If you're looking for somewhere with a wow factor that will be full of surprises and keep you entertained all night through, you can never go wrong with an Alchemist. The Alchemist has a chain of now five bars: two in Leeds, one in London and two in Manchester, all of which specialise in molecular drinks curated by a selection highly trained mixologists. At an Alchemist, food is not just
food and drinks are beyond the ordinary.
The Alchemist* on Greek Street, Leeds is one of the newest in the chain of Alchemist Bar and Restaurants and possibly one of my favourites. The room is very spacious, the staff are incredibly attentive and their new menu, which I was given a chance to preview last week is super delicious and mouthwateringly good. As someone who is vegetarian and almost tee-total, you probably wouldn't have the Alchemist down as a restaurant for me to visit, but with a superb list of mocktails - all of which are just as good as their alcoholic counterparts and plenty of food choices for us herbivores, I left the restaurant last week with a belly full to the rim of food and feeling highly satisfied.
As soon as my friend and I were seated, the lovely waitress brought us a cocktail menu to browse. When I usually dine out, I find mocktail and non-alcoholic beverages to be rather uninspiring, after all there's only so many 'virgin mojitos' you can drink, but there's nothing boring about the Alchemist mocktail menu. Listed as drinks made by the 'Alchemist's Apprentice' this mocktail menu has drinks that bubble and froth right in front of you, as well as the classics such as a Virgin Mojito or Virgin Pornstar, but even though they are classics, each of those have an Alchemist's twist. After all, nothing is quite normal at an Alchemist...well maybe the soft drinks, beer or wine, but at Alchemist, it's all about those cocktails.
Once we finally stopped getting distract by the drinks menu, Lizi and I ordered our starters. I chose the vegetable gyoza and really enjoyed it. It was the perfect size for a starter the gyoza was soft yet crispy and the dripping sauce was packed full of flavour. I had being eyeing up this starter on the website for a few days prior to my visit and I wasn't disappointed.
Continuing with the Japanese theme, I decided on the Japanese ramen with Quorn for my main. I'm always a bit apprehensive about choosing Quorn at a restaurant as I cook with it all the time at home and often worry about how they will make it special - after all, you don't go eat at a restaurant to have something that you can easily cook at home. However, when this main arrived all my worries were quickly diminished. When the waiter brought out my dish, he poured the steaming broth into the ramen right in front of me to give a theatrical steaming, bubbling effect. It was the a witches cauldron placed in front of me, full of magical goodness. As well as looking good, the dish tasted superb. It was far from bland as I imagined it to be and the vegetables were cooked to perfection. This dish was light, yet filling and full of texture as well as flavour.
As we eagerly awaited desserts, we both ordered yet another cocktail. This time I went for a Virgin Pornstar. Pornstar Martini's are a drink I often miss when I go out and mocktail versions can be hard to come by. This Virgin Pornstar was served ice-cold with a hint of vanilla and probably is one of the best mocktails I've ever had. It was one of those drinks that I happily slurped, trying to get every last bit out of the juice out of the glass. To be honest, I'd happily return to The Alchemist just for that cocktail. I can imagine it is wonderfully refreshing on a hot day.
And finally, the piece-de-resistance, the show-stopper, the dessert. Usually after two courses I'm struggling to fit in dessert, but nothing was stopping me from eating this bad boy. This salted-caramel cheesecake with mint sugar, strawberries and cream was heavenly. Cheesecakes are usually quite a heavy dessert and salted caramel is a rich, indulgent flavour, but this particular cheesecake was as light as a feather, but still full of flavour. The salted caramel wasn't too overpowering and the mint sugar really tickled my tastebuds. I wasn't sure how I initially felt about the mint and salted caramel combo, but it worked and it worked incredibly well. It was the perfect ending to a superb meal, The Alchemist is yet to disappoint me.
Have you been to any Alchemist bars?