Recently I was very lucky to be invited along to the Newcastle venue of The Alchemist to try out their food and drink menus. The Newcastle location is situated in the heart of the city in the Intu Eldon Square food Hall near the Grey’s Monument entrance. I had booked a table on a Monday evening thinking it would be rather quiet around 6.30pm but was surprised to see the bar and restaurant rather busy. This was a great sign.
We arrived and a lovely young waitress sat us at a table near the open view kitchen and explained that The Alchemist had recently brought out a new cocktail menu. The Conjurer menu had 6 different drinks to choose from, ranging from Disarano, Rum, vodka, whisky and gin based drinks. The menu tells the customer to download the Conjurer app to enjoy the full illusion experience. When your drink is served you scan the coaster and wait for the magic to happen.
We went for the Sailors Punch priced at £10.00. Quite expensive for a cocktail but as those who have visited The Alchemist will know you aren’t just paying for the drink you are paying for the science-y experience that comes with it. This illusion-styled drink was a mix of sailor Jerry Rum, banana, pineapple, citrus and desert islands…mysterious. When the drink came there was a bottle upside down and half full. The waitress explained that along with the illusion of being on an island you had to figure out how to drink the cocktail without removing the bottle.
After taking in the magic of the new Conjurer menu we had a browse of what food was on offer. From nibbles, starters, small plates and main meals The Alchemist has a rather large selection. I went for the Tempura Prawn Lollipops which were incredible. So much flavour and cooked absolutely perfectly. They were served alongside a sweet chilli dip and charged at £6.00. My dad went for the Halloumi Sticks which were £5.50. These were a smaller portion compared to my prawns but nevertheless tasted really good. The breaded cheese came with a sweet mustard mayo which matched the squeaky cheese really well.
After much (and I mean much) deliberation about what main course I was going to order I decided on the classic choice of Chicken in a Basket. This main course dish described as being The Alchemist’s signature bestseller since 2010 when the franchise first opened up in Manchester so I thought I best see what all the fuss was about. Served along side coleslaw, BBQ sauce and fries of your choice- of which I picked salt and pepper fries. These were actual peppers on the chips which tasted like Chinese spiced chips and were insanely good! 10/10 in flavour and would say they are a must if you are ordering the chicken in a basket. The chicken also quiet literally comes in a basket that is shaped like a chicken and the coleslaw is really nice and creamy which I’m not actually a fan at all of regular coleslaw but this one was on point.
Dad went for the Crispy Belly Pork which cost £13.50. We thought this was a really reasonable price for a main course. It came alongside homemade chorizo croquette, sweetcorn puree, padron peppers and red pepper coulis. The waitress recommended a side of Hasselblack potatoes with garlic butter and crispy capers to go with his dish and he loved them. The presentation of this dish was superb, it looked like it would be served at a high end fancy restaurant and charged three times the price. Flavours were great too he said.
In between the main courses and desserts I asked for a non-alcoholic cocktail thinking it wouldn’t be as exciting as the regular ones. To my surprise it was just as magical, I went for the Bubblygum drink charged at very decent price of £4.50. This concoction was bubblegum, apple, cranberry lime and bubbles mixed together all in a conical flask. You pour over ice yourself to see the bubbles come to life.
Ordering desserts we thought we would go a bit different and try something new. I opted for the Cotton Candy Baked Alaska which was waffle based topped with gale, meringue and Grand Marnier. Obviously, I wasn’t drinking so asked about this and was told it a “boozy one with fire” meaning it would be burnt off but the flavour still there. It certainly was still there. If you like sweet things and are a lover of brandy then this is the dessert for you!
Dad got the Caramelised Poached Pineapple which costs £6.00. A blood orange gelato, accompanied with frozen grapes, a passionfruit sphere, an orange, surrounded by granola to give it that crunch. He said it was really refreshing and just what he needed after a rich meal.
Overall, we had a great time exploring the new Conjuring cocktail menu over at The Alchemist in Newcastle and enjoyed some amazing food too. The atmosphere was fantastic and drinks which you can probably imagine are super cool and ooze with imagination (perfect for instagram opportunities). Thanks again to The Alchemist for inviting us along, we will be back very soon!