Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Alchemy Bar, Manuka

I left town for four weeks and two new bars had opened up in Manuka! Time to play catch up drinking and what better night than a dreary old Monday night to do so!

Situated across the road from Public Bar in a space that used to be something else bar and then something else bar (seems to be the story when it comes to longevity of bars in Manuka),  The Alchemy Bar is a restaurant/bar/cafe/nightclub. I must admit that I'm always dubious about venues that try to be all things to all people; pick one and do that well I say. The concept of The Alchemy Bar sounds dangerously similar to that of Tounge and Groove, and that to me isn't always a good thing. However, judgment had to be reserved till I can say "been there, done that" so off I went on a Monday night, braving the elements, in the name of research. 

The fit out is modern and sleek. The Alchemy occupies a vast space with ample room for the whole cafe/bar/restaurant/nightclub concept. The grand bar dominates the central space while the glitzy mural on the far wall is a striking centerpiece. While the ambiance was low on this particularly dreary old Monday night, the service was warm and welcoming.

We opted for the shared tapas platter as a starter. Now I do have to mention that I have a slight problem with restaurants calling any shared plate of food "tapas"... but moving right along....

This was quite a generous share plate for $27. We got to sample meatballs with tomato sugo, tomato and basil arancini balls, truffle mac and cheese balls, salmon gravlax, stuffed zucchini flower, battered mushrooms, beef cheeks and tuna. The beef, tuna and the meatballs were delicious. The beef was melt in your mouth tender, the tuna was fresh and the meatballs packed a lot of flavour. The other items weren't bad by any means, but failed to really wow me.

My main was salmon fillet with lemon and coriander dressing and beet root puree on a bed of cucumber, orange and fennel salad. Sadly the salmon was slightly overcooked. The lemon and coriander dressing and the citrusy salad were however lovely but I felt the beet root puree was an unnecessary over-kill.

So the verdict: While the glamorous fitout of The Alchemy Bar and the warm service made a very positive impression on me, the food missed the mark by a little bit on this occasion. But don't let that put you off; Alchemy has a very extensive menu as well as some rather tempting lunch specials so I know I'll be back for round two in the near future.

On a diffrent note, if like me, you had noticed that the South Side is in serious need of a late night party spot, get excited because The Alchemy is doing RnB Saturdays starting this weekend! DJ Anush will be spinning his smooth tunes to get you in the groove so why not make a night out of it at the Alchemy; start with a cocktail, have a bite to eat and then hit the D-floor... I might even see you there!

Alchemy Bar & Restaurant on Urbanspoon


  1. We went here on Friday night and I wasnt overally impressed with the service, we had one waitress who was really good but the rest were lackluster. I wasn't impressed with the tapas plate but I had lamb shanks which were really good. The dance floor started at about 10.30pm which was fine for us but looking back we were killing it on the dance floor while some people were still finishing their dinner... I wouldnt have been impressed if I was still eating...
    I think it would work well as a bar, that served food (like Suburban) but doesnt work as a restaurant/bar/danceclub.

  2. Love this idea--always feeling book clubs need to be a longer timeframe.. Thanks

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