We Tried The Alchemist's New Summer Menu

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Last updated . By Charly Bowen.

Nestled on the most stylish street in Leeds, sits The Alchemist; a laid-back restaurant and cocktail bar, perfect for a date night or some post work drinks. The mixologists at The Alchemist are renowned for their experimental attitude to creating cocktails, and after reading all about their new additions to the menu, we couldn’t wait to try them ourselves.

Venue and Atmosphere

Though we drank and dined at The Alchemist on Greek Street, it’s worth mentioning that there are two Alchemists in the city - a testament to the venue’s booming popularity, no doubt. We felt that Trinity’s more relaxed younger sibling was the perfect place to take in our surroundings and try the new vegan food options.

The venue is a sophisticated fusion of old and new; inside the setting is open plan, with contemporary copper light fixtures and plush comfy seats, while in contrast, there are dozens of rustic looking, empty whiskey and rum bottles lined up on the shelves.

Considering it’s still early evening, and a Wednesday, there are plenty of post-work groups and couples dotted about, sharing starters and sipping cocktails. We took a seat near the window and noticed the chilled but rhythmic background music - the ideal tempo for a school night.

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Food & Drink

The Alchemist, true to its name, boasts a whole host of seemingly magical cocktails with equally whimsical names - take the ‘Butter Beer’ or the ‘Banana Manana’ for example. The menu has recently been updated and includes an impressive nine new additions, featuring the intriguing (and very 2018) take on an Espresso Martini - the ‘Iced Charcoal Latte’, as well as the seemingly magical ‘Colour Changing One’.

I went for the raspberry coloured ‘Bubble Bath’ (£8), a fruity concoction of Aperol, gin, Chambord and ‘fairy liquid’; it was presented beautifully, in a lab beaker brimming with dry ice. My companion went for the smokier tasting ‘Caramelised Rum Punch’ (£9), which was a mix of rum, Grand Marnier lime, pineapple and ‘fire’, served in a traditional stein. There truly is something for everyone on the drinks menu, whether you prefer the tried and tested, classic cocktails, or fancy something a little closer to chemistry.

After we were served our drinks, my companion and I had a quick scan of the starters, which featured firm favourites like nachos (£5.25), halloumi fingers (£5.50), and chicken wings (£6.25). We shared the veggie gzoyas with sweet chilli dipping soy and the hummus with vegetables and tortillas, both were under £6 and were the perfect accompaniment to our drinks.

To follow, I decided to go for a meal that was marked on the menu with a little fork, as this meant it is part of the Foodinate initiative. Foodinate work to end local hunger by running a ‘meal for meal’ programme, whereby each time a customer orders a particular dish, a meal is donated to a local person in need - pretty lovely right?

My dish was a light and summery Keralan chickpea curry (£10.50), served on a bed of cauliflower rice and coriander, with wraps and a squeeze of fresh lime on the side. My companion had the shawarma cauliflower steak (£11.50), which came with a mixed grain salad, a generous drizzle of harrissa yoghurt and a spicy kick. Both dishes were light, fragrant and colourful and are ideal for the warm weather. In keeping with the summer theme, we both finished with a refreshing mango and lemon sorbet (£4) and left feeling totally full.

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Summary

Fronting a sophisticated but friendly atmosphere, The Alchemist is a spot where you’d be proud to take your parents and somewhere you’d feel comfortable joining your pals for an after-work cocktail. If you opt to dine at The Alchemist, rest assured you’ll leave feeling satisfied, but if you go for one of the experimental and creative cocktails, you’ll leave feeling as though you’ve witnessed a little bit of chemistry.