By gaining 35 out of 100 votes (35%), The Alchemist bar on Brunswick St won the January ‘tell me where to go’ poll. I visited last night with a friend for drinks and food. The Alchemist opened in mid 2009 but this was my first visit. We started with cocktails before moving on to wine and food.
I have to agree with 100 word reviews that the cocktails are ordinary and overpriced. The wine list has few choices by the glass but I enjoyed my WA riesling. We were keen to eat and ordered the following dishes to share. We started with the aubergine with chickpea puree, crispy onions and Japanese mayonnaise (below). Delicious.
Spanish sausage bake – chorizo, cous cous and olives (not sure that I found any though) with spicy tomato sauce. Very satisfying.
Sticky lamb – baked lamb with cannelloni beans and red onion. It could have contained more lamb, but the dish was savoury, salty and perhaps the best one of our selection.
Cauliflower fried with curry leaves, mustard seeds and cumin. Sharp fresh flavours that made a good contrast to the meat dishes.
The apple, fig, rocket, walnut and asiago salad was fantastic.
Tastebuds galore gives it a mixed review. I was impressed with the food, and my perception is that The Alchemist is a bar where the food is better than the drinks. There’s plenty of vegetarian options. When we went to pay my friend put her card on the counter (while I handed her some cash), and the male staff member asked me whether it was cash or credit. Fail. Our final impression was therefore not as positive as it could have been. I’d return for a glass of wine and some food, but I’d pass on the cocktails.