After a hard week of work in the world of Beauty, PR and Marketing, I decided to break up the week with an impromptu catch up with an old friend in Manchester. Thursdays are the new Fridays, right? And I was desperate to get myself back into the bustling city, away from my current workplace and just thrive in the Manchester atmosphere.
When deciding where to meet for dinner and drinks, I was made aware that The Alchemist (on New York Street, not the one in Spinningfields) had recently rejuvenated their second site in Manchester with a £180,000 investment, and had re-opened with a shiny new look.
As my friend works in the Northern Quarter, New York Street is an ideal meeting location, so we got ourselves booked in at The Alchemist to take advantage of the extensive food menu and impressive cocktail list.
This particular dining and drinking destination is known for its dark and decadent décor and menus, and I pleased to see that was still prominent. You know when you enter an Alchemist venue – dark interiors with contrasting brightly lit logos, dark wood and good finishing’s, high tables, and everyone drinking extravagant cocktails. For me, that’s the beauty of this place – out of this world cocktails with smoke, sizzle and all sorts!
We were handed the cocktail menus to begin with and as I was a little late at turning up, I turned to our server and asked him for recommendations. He pointed out a few favourites, such as the Bananagrogi (what they class as a sweet but serious drink, which has a concoction of Aperol, Banana Belsazar, Whitley neil gin) and Tickle Me Pink (Portobello gin, Briolette, Elderflower, Lime… and nettles?), before discovering I’m a huge Gin lover, and green tea (yeah random I know!), which led him to point out a cocktail on the specials menu…
I can’t actually remember the name of the drink now but it was basically a cocktail which combines gin with green tea and a tasty syrup, and it was divine!
My friend went for the Bananagroni, and also the one on the top photo (I’ve just chased her for the name of this cocktail and will update it as soon as I hear back!), which came in a science designed conical flask, smoking and sizzling away. A sure fire way to get people to look at you!
Anyway, whilst I happily sipped my Green Tea and Gin muddled cocktail, we browsed the extensive food menu which had so many tempted options on. They literally offer everything: nibbles (olives, padron peppers, crispy kale and pork crackling) followed by a section of the menu that literally made my mouth water: Tapatisers!
The Tapatisers section would make a fantastic lunch option, or, ideal starters before your main, which is exactly what I did. I ordered the Satay Prawns with Pineapple and Mango Salad, and my friend went for the Crispy Avocado in panko breadcrumbs and chipotle mayo. However, you could order 3-4 tapatisers to make up a main, as they have loads of delicious options.
I was particularly eyeing up the Duck Spring Rolls, Thai Fish Cakes and Pork Bon Bons. They average at about £6 per dish, so pretty reasonable prices too.
So, onto the mains. If I hadn’t stuffed myself silly with bread earlier on in the day, I would have gone for quorn fajitas, as I love quorn (I’m not a veggie though) and rarely see this on a menu. Luckily, my friend ordered the fajita option instead, selecting chicken as the filling.
The portion size was just what you wanted, just enough wraps to go with the filling, giving you around 3-4 filled fajita wraps and copious amounts of creams/dips. I have to say, 10/10 for presentation from the team, displaying all food on neatly aligned plates, and impressive dishes, which was more so for the course that I ordered that you can see below:
I decided to go for the heart-warming chilli, rice and nachos, accompanied with guacamole, sour cream, cheese and salsa. They bring the meal over in an uber-stylish silver stacked setup, where each silver dish contains each part of the meal. The chilli itself was so tasty, more of a thicker, chunkier consistency than you can get elsewhere, which gave it that homemade taste.
Overall, the service was brilliant, with two waiters checking if we needed anything at various times throughout our visit, and the busy yet relaxed atmosphere was a pleasure to dine and drink in.
Main meals average at around the £11 mark, with cocktails a little pricier at around £8, but for the extensive choice and crazy embellishments, its totally worth it.
I’d happily recommend booking in for dinner and drinks with a group of friends on a weeknight or weekend night for sure.