When we walked into The Alchemist on a recent rainy Monday evening, it felt like we'd been transported into a beautiful Christmas grotto.
We'd been invited to try out the new Christmas menu and until this point I hadn't actually felt very Christmass-y at all, but it's pretty hard not to get into the festive spirit when you're greeted by an array of twinkling lights and a beautiful towering Christmas bean stalk.
We kicked off the evening by ordering some of the recommended Christmas cocktails. I'm already a huge fan of Alchemist cocktails, and whilst they are a little on the expensive side, they're certainly amazing.
Most of the cocktails include some sort of mini show to accompany them, such as a fire or misting from the glass which is always exciting and different. It's sort of how I imagined/hoped my Chemistry classes at uni would go like. In hindsight, I should have just taken up a cocktail making masterclass and saved myself a few thousand... !
For my first drink I decided to go for the Drug Rummer - an interesting mixture of Appleton VX rum, citrus and a coffee vanilla cinnamon syrup, smoked and garnished with toasted sage. It definitely had a Christmas kick!
It's quite a strong cocktail, and for someone who starts hugging everyone after about 2 drinks I'd probably only order one of these a night! Really lovely though, I especially liked the smokey flavours that came through.
The BF went for the Hot & Cold Expresso Tini, which was a split between a Chantilly creamy layer and a boiling expresso martini. I could see why it was put forward as a good Christmas option - a sweet, tasty and indulgent drink (which is what Christmas is all about!).
I was quite surprised with my starter, as I wasn't massively impressed with the 3 options of either Sweetcorn Soup, Oriental Tiger Prawn Salad and the Smoked Paprika Chicken Skewers - which was my choice.
They seemed to me like quite boring options.... but thankfully The Alchemist don't do boring and even something as simple as chicken skewers turned out to be pretty incredible! The skewers came with a super tasty chipolte Creme fraich dip (which I'm hoping to get the recipe for!), and an oriental style coleslaw which was full of flavour.
The Oriental Tiger Prawn Salad was also not so boring as expected (as you can see from the picture!) and is definitely a more interesting take on the traditional prawn cocktail Christmas starter.
I kept it traditional with my choice of main and went for the Turkey Roulade with a bacon crumb, served with a sage and onion jus. Turkey can be a tricky one as it can easily turn out too dry, but I was happy with mine - the only thing I'd say was there was possibly a little too much stuffing in the middle which I ended up leaving.
My partners choice of Sirloin Steak with spinach, crispy onions and a green peppercorn sauce was nothing short of amazing. Not a hard dish to get right of course, but the sauce was rich and creamy, and the crunchy onions on top gave it an extra texture which worked perfectly. I loved it a little too much and the BF soon had to fork my hand away.
I couldn't visit the Alchemist without having my all time favourite cocktail off their extensive menu - the White Chocolate & Rasberry Martini. I was pretty much starting on dessert early with this one because that's really what this cocktail is like - I could happily order a whole bowl of the white chocolate foam that comes on top of it as it's so good!
The winning Christmas cocktail of the night had to be the Cinnamon Apple though. Nothing tastes as much like Christmas than gingerbread syrup and a cinnamon and nutmeg sprinkle!
And finally we got to the actual desserts: which were a choice of either Christmas Pudding, White And Dark Chocolate Torte or Bakewell Tart.
My choice was the White And Dark Chocolate Torte which came with a salted caramel sauce. They weren't joking about the salted part, and this was probably the saltiest sauce I've ever tried in my life! If you're a salt fiend and reach for the salt shaker even for a halloumi cheese salad, then this dish is for you. Otherwise I'd have to say it's probably a little too salty for my taste buds. The Torte on its own was beautiful though, surprisingly light and perfectly chocolatey - I still enjoyed my pick.
The BF chose the Bakewell Tart with raspberry ripple ice cream which I basically had to wrestle him for as it was so delicious. I'm hoping this makes its way to the normal menu after Christmas as I'd come back for that alone!
So what did we think overall? For £26.95 a head for 3 courses the Christmas Menu is actually very reasonably priced and provides you with some really tasty dishes. I'd be more than happy to eat there again either for Christmas or in the new year, and I'm certain I'll be back for more cocktails again soon!
What are your thoughts on the Alchemist? Have you tried the Christmas menu or been down for a cocktail? If you fancy a peak at their extensive cocktail menu you can take a look here.
Massive thanks Georgia the business manager for inviting us down and for all the staff at The Alchemist for brightening up a boring Monday evening. And thank you for reading!