A few months ago, my friend told me about her visit to The Alchemist in Manchester, raving about the amazing cocktails they have on offer. When I eagerly researched whether they had a branch in London, they didn't. But then, like magic, I saw them pop up on twitter saying they were setting up shop in London just a few weeks later! Cue excitement.
When I saw that they were having a soft launch period with 50% off the food bill, they were pushed to the front of the to-try restaurant list and I booked us in for a Saturday night date.
It's located conveniently close to Liverpool Street station, and when we first stepped into The Alchemist we were quite impressed with the decor and style of the place. It's swanky without being too OTT, the amber lighting made it a little old school and they had a wall where they were projecting Charlie Chaplin movies.
But it was time to get down to business. The cocktail menu is quite frankly overwhelming - there is just so much choice! We laughed at our first picks, as mine was a manly looking Old Fashioned with a smokey twist, while E got some kind of frothy lavender tinted one. Gender stereotyping be gone.
I'm a kid at heart, and love these fun theatrical touches (that also do make a big difference to the taste, of course).
For food, I stuck to the macho theme and got the ribeye steak - something I hadn't had in years! E went for the burger.
I honestly didn't know what to expect from the food, as any menu that offers Japanese ramen, Thai curry, British fish & chips and Mexican fajitas in one breath makes me a little suspicious. But I was pleasantly surprised - my steak was great quality meat, cooked to a perfect medium-rare and very flavourful. E's burger was pretty good, though not great - he said the meat patty was a bit thin.
E is not a huge cocktail drinker so he stopped at one, but I had no trouble choosing another - though I did, decisions-wise. In the end I went for the White Cosmopolitan, that came with a frozen orchid.
How pretty is this ice idea? Also I have to say that these ice balls they use are so much nicer than the standard cubes - I think that it prevents the drinks from getting too watery.
We weren't exactly in need of dessert, but we went there anyway. Sticky toffee pudding, to be exact.
It was actually not as heavy and "sticky" as other ones I've had, which was good after our main courses.
And then, just as we had paid the bill, we bumped into my friend who had recommended this place, completely by coincidence! (She's the same friend I had seen the weekend prior and ran the 10K race with, and I had told her about The Alchemist opening in London.) Although she was with her boyfriend on a date night, they let us stay with them for a drink before we left them in peace for the rest of their meal.
Which meant that I had no choice but to order one last cocktail - what a hardship! She told me that I had to try one of their dessert-style cocktails, so I chose the Solero - basically a Solero ice lolly in drink form.
Even though it's sweeter than my typical taste, the citrus cut through it and it really did taste like a solero.
We said our goodbyes and rolled ourselves out of there, snapping a couple of last photos of the pretty lights.
Overall, I really enjoyed my evening here - they have some cosy looking sofas downstairs in the bar area, where I could definitely see relaxing with some innovative cocktails with my girlfriends. Hopefully that will happen soon!
You can read more details about The Alchemist on Zomato.