I WAS most definitely shaken AND stirred by my weekday social trip to Spinningfield’s stunning Alchemist Bar.
To me, there’s just something so glamorous about socialites ‘chilling’ on sun-beamed terraces with a cocktail in one hand and a smile shining on their faces.
And there was no shortage of any of this at such a popular, sophistocated hot-spot in the centre of Manchester.
As a birthday treat for one of my best friends, the bar and restaurant came up top trumps for a celebratory venue – especially for its variety of various alcoholic fruity concoctions.
Walking into the chic New-York style hangout, I felt a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. With it being midweek there was no shortage of after-work businessmen drinkers mixed with groups of people getting ready for a night on the tiles.
Sparkling lights draped over the floor to ceiling windows and an amazing display of fine wines and spirits behind the classic dark, perfectly polished wooden bar area. It filled me with excitement!
Hidden around the corner of the subtle yet breathtaking interior of the bar area it led onto the seated restaurant with a glass divide separating an open kitchen at the far end. A quaint touch I thought as the sweaty, hard-working chefs and heat of the ovens were visible but not rammed so far in your face that you can’t help but be distracted by them slaving away in their working area which you unfortunately often find in some ‘try-hard’ restaurants.
A beautiful, small but cosy venue – perfect for a much-needed catch up.
And with a choice of relaxing indoor or intimate outdoor seating we chose to be placed by the door, enough to feel the fresh air but sheltered enought to keep away the evening chill.
Boasting of its popular cocktail menu, it didn’t disappoint. At first the service was polite and attentive and we received our cocktails in a matter of minutes. I opted for the passionfruit martini and my friend, the French martini. Wow!! The flavours and appearance of both mixes were incredible. Fruity, sweet and light, enough to taste the kick of the spirit but not so much that it doesn’t get you absolutely steaming from the first sip.
The cocktails I must say were the highlight of the night. Both had an unusual foamy top reminding me of my favourite treats – sweets! I have to admit that I would fail to find another cocktail bar in the city to match up to these.
But I couldn’t just sit there getting drunk – it was time for food. Not being absolutely starving we both opted to share a selection of light-bite appetisers from the menu.
And we didn’t have to wait long. The food came within a brief 10 minutes of placing the order the dishes arrived all at once. This was both fantastic as we had such a varitey of meats, salads and vegetables to whet our appetite with but many got slightly cold before I had chance to even smell some of them.
First I went for the popular poultry. We decided to opt for the sharing platter which consisted of wings, nachos, chicken pot stickers and beer-battered prawns with dips. I do love my dips.
The chillis were an added delight to the chicken as there wasn’t meat much on the bone so they added most of the flavour. And the slightly greasy pot stickers didn’t potentially blow me away as I think the blast of spring-onion sensationally blasted out any other hint of other flavours which may have been hidden there.
But then I sampled the satay chicken skewers. The meat practically fell off the well proportioned wooden stick it was clinging onto but it was the side dip which caught my attention. With what I can only describle as YUM, the only complaint I could possibly conjure up with this dish is the fact that there wasn’t enough of it to make my belly pop.
Another favourite of mine was the nachos with plenty of guacamole – crisp, cheesey and plenty of jalapenos – you can’t go wrong really.
My dining partner couldn’t get enough of the sticky beef salad, a slightly healthier option but it was a bowl full of delicious, crisp, and bursting with flavours we both couldn’t get enough. And I NEVER say that about rabbit food.
One dish I didn’t eat much of was the calamari. Normally this is my first and favourite choice. At the time I think I convinced myself I was full but if I’m being brutally honest it just didn’t do it for me. It went cold and the batter went too hard that I had trouble finding the fish underneath it. But it was perfectly pleasant for a taster.
Each dish filled me with a delight of different, exciting flavours and not knowing what to expect in each bite it was definitely a maze of the most perfect light treats for a Tuesday evening. Overall it definitely satisfied our tastebuds and was exceptionally satisfactory for the not too expensive price range of the food menu.
We both finished the meal off with an obvious choice, warm chocolate fudge cake. Slightly perturbed by the half an hour waiting time but not put off – we digged in to the coca feast. Neatly arranged on the white bone china, the cushiony cake was a rich chocolaholic’s heaven. But the real winner on this plate was the creamy, melt-in-your-mouth, idyllic ice-creamwhich oozed vanilla goodness. Naturally I ordered seconds.
What with a happy martini buzz and a warm welcoming fullness in my stomach mixed with the glow of the evening sunset, I could confidently and easily kick back and wile away many evenings in the bar’s gorgeous surroundings.