I’m a huuuuge fan of Manchester’s Alchemist for food and drinks. When I used to work around Spinningfields, we’d pop into The Alchemist near The Oast House during lunch whenever anyone had a promotion, or just a general work celebration. When I wanted to meet up with friends after work, I’d usually walk half way to where I was parked, and pop into The Alchemist on New York Street for that warm, afternoon buzz vibe. And a cheeky cocktail of course! (you can read more about it here)
So when I heard that The Alchemist had made its mark in another key area of Manchester – Media City – I of course went to check it out. First and foremost, this one has the most impressive decor, stature and build of them all. Just look at the uber quirky shape and design from the outside, sitting right on the edge of the River and neighbouring The Lowry Theatre.
It has a strong gold theme, along with its legendary dimmed lights and dark, moody atmosphere. When I turned up I actually had a banging headache after work, and ordered the largest glass of Coke, because I strangely find that Coke sorts a headache out before I reach for Ibuprofen. There’s a random tip of the day…
Anyway, myself and 4 girls headed there for a 6.30 seating, and we each picked a cocktail from the extensive menu. I don’t say extensive lightly – the list is huuuuuuge. As a big gin fan, I asked the waitress if she could recommend a gin based cocktail, in which she pointed out one called ‘BubbleBath‘, a concoction of Tanqueray Gin, Aperol, Chambord, Lemon, Apple and Fairy Liquid (OK so it says that on the menu, but whether or not it actually is present in the drink is another story!). The cocktail comes out in a sleek martini glass, bubbling and foaming at the brim.
I love the novelty of unique cocktails. You know, the ones that froth, foam, smoke and steam – they make having that cheeky cocktail so much more fun!
My friend always opts for the Screwball (Absolut Raspberry, Blue Curacao, Bubblegum, Apple, Lime, White Chocolate Cream) which is a super sweet, bright blue option – a real sweet treat. But in all honesty, if you’re a cocktail drinker and love experimenting, this really is the place to go. If I hadn’t been driving, I would have easily made my way through a few gin delights I saw on the menu!
So onto the food. I didn’t quite want a starter, but always want more than just a main dish, so a few of us looked at the Nibbles section to get something small to start. I was sooooo happy to spot Crispy Kale on the menu at £2.50 so a bowl full, topped with crunchy salt and what I think was garlic seasoning. Its delicious and one of my favourite snacks.
After munching on the kale, my sisters portion of sweet and salty seaweed popcorn and my friends prawn lollipops, we went straight into our mains.
As much as I wanted Fajitas or the Katsu Curry, I’d previously had fajitas earlier that day, and had fried chicken the evening before, so instead I opted for the Veggie Burrito. It came with a delicious sweetcorn salsa and tortilla chips, and the burritos themselves were loaded with veg and rice. It was surprisingly really filling and incredibly tasty.
The majority of my party all went for the Katsu Curry, which I’m going to have to go for next time because as well as looking amazing, every one of them agreed it was truly delicious. The sauce is much more watery than the thick, gloopy Katsu sauce you experience at Wagamamas, so it kind of feels a bit healthier? Not sure if it is, but it’s just as yummy, and much less tacky.
I have to say that the Fajita’s also seem an enticing option. For £12.50 for the chicken version, you get a generous pile of wraps, along with sizzling chicken, vegetables, sauces, toppings and veggies. You can;t go wrong with one of these sizzling plates if you’re a little undecided…
If you’re planning a trip to Media City and Salford Quays, and want a touch of class and glamour when going for lunch/dinner, this is the place I’d recommend. Media City is improving its food and drink offering at a rapid pace since the BBC and ITV made home there, and there are so many brilliant options. However, this one has to be the most striking and elegant.
Can’t fault the service, the ambiance, the service, the cost, the food, the drinks and the location. The only thing I’d like to wish for next time is that the rain can hold off so I can sit outside in the heated terrace!