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The meaning of the word alchemist translates to a person who transforms or creates something through a seemingly magical process. This perfectly sums up the entire ethos behind The popular bar/restaurant The Alchemist, where I had the pleasure of visiting recently in Nottingham for a matinee performance...
They themselves describe themselves as ‘masters in the dark art arts of molecular mixology as well as demons in the kitchen’ and I can second that considering my experience encompassed bubbling broth, colour changing cocktails and boozy fire- all in the one sitting!
The venue itself is large, think high industrial ceilings, black gothic /steam punk artwork when observed closely reveals the weird and wonderful. Everything is themed and extremely theatrical- this was right up my street.
The bar is mammoth with the hustle and bustle of the mixologist magicians hard at work creating their wondrous masterpieces for all to sample. The cocktail menu is more of a novel wonderfully descriptive, I could have made my way through each and every one, but decided to try the ‘CC’ – Colour Changing one – not for the fact it contained Grey Goose vodka, Briottet apple, citrus and soda, but because it contained ‘magic’ – the suspense was unbearable!
My CC arrived in a glass tumbler with two miniature glass laboratory bottles containing a different coloured potion in each. It was my job to pour one into my tumbler at a time and watch the dry ice form and spill over, first turning the liquid blue then purple then finally pink.
We took centre stage in a comfortable booth with a great view across the venue which allowed us to enjoy the performances of food being served in a only way The Alchemist can serve food and equally the reactions from patrons faces was just as entertaining.
The menu is extensive and again based around the concept of theatre; Act 1 (from the nibbles section) being the vegan Alchemiso Broth purely ordered due to its description of Tofu, sweetcorn, chilli, spring onion and ‘theatre’- I was sold purely on intrigue! To my delight when the broth arrived, dry ice was poured over the top of the bowl from a small jug creating the impressive smoking effect of a bubbling cauldron. Act 2 – the starters, saw us ordering the Breaded Halloumi Sticks served with a delicious sweet mustard mayo and Warm Ciabatta with olive oil and balsamic to share.
The main event was the vegan Moving Mountains Burger, which to my delight was 100% plant based, contained 20g of protein and was served with Rubies sustainable ketchup & vegan mayo. There was also an upgrade option of either swiss, halloumi or dolcelatte cheese and even avocado if you so wished. I stuck with the popular swiss burger cheese and enjoyed this with salad and a side order of skinny fries. My non vegetarian dining partner opted for the Chicken in a Basket served with fries, coleslaw and BBQ sauce which ironically arrived in a chicken shaped basket. I was pleased to see a vegetarian alternative to this- Seitan in a Basket also – something for next time.
For afters and undoubtedly the piece de resistance- Cotton Candy Baked Alaska- why?
Well because it was ‘boozy with fire’ of course! A waffle was lathered in gelato, gooey meringue and Grand Marnier, decorated with poofs of coloured candy floss or ‘cotton candy’ as our American friends refer to it. This was ever so sweet if a little too sweet for my taste as I’m more of a citrus tart kinda gal , however my dining partner polished it off with no hesitation and the added theatre of the flambé was a nice touch to conclude what I can only describe as an overall bravo performance, worthy of an encore.
The Sleepy Vegetarian