Restaurant review: The Alchemist, Leeds

The Alchemist. PIC: Simon Hulme
The Alchemist. PIC: Simon Hulme
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FOR THOSE who have visited The Alchemist before, you will be accustomed to the long, off-putting queues on a Friday or Saturday night.

Many a time has Oliver had to elbow his way through the throngs of people just to reach the bar and sip on one of their impressive cocktails.

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But my recent visit was a stark contrast to my previous experiences – and for the better.

Approaching the bar on a sunny Sunday afternoon, we were relieved to see there wasn’t a queue outside or a single bouncer in sight.

We strolled through the impressive doorway without any hassle, walking through to the back of the room to the dining area.

The impressive floor-to-ceiling windows let in a huge amount of sunlight and offer great views over Leeds.

The hanging bubble-type chandeliers are stylish and the sophisticated beige leather chairs and booths complement the smart marble-type tabletops.

The waiter seated us at the last free table right in the middle of the room, which was the perfect spot.

We were given a few moments to mull over the menu.

There’s a wide range of tempting meals to try at The Alchemist, from ‘weekend breakfasts’ including bacon or sausage butties from under a fiver to Eggs Benedict or a Full English for up to £10.

To my surprise, The Alchemist also does Sunday roasts for £12.95, which seemed to be a popular choice amongst diners.

For lighter bites, there is also a good selection of sandwiches, salads and burgers, ranging from £7 to £10. Heftier main courses such as fish and chips, Thai red curry, steaks and fajitas are also on offer.

I opted for the goat’s cheese and red pepper wrap with sweet chilli sauce and fries for a very reasonable £6.95 – the same price as an Alchemist bellini, in case you were wondering.

For the health-conscious, you can also swap the fries for a salad.

When it arrived, the creamy goat’s cheese was slightly melted as the wrap came lightly toasted, which was a nice touch.

The salad inside hadn’t been affected by the heat though, thankfully, and added a much-needed crunch.

The sweet chilli sauce was also delicious and gave the meal a bit of a kick.

My companion went for the steak sandwich at a pricier £9.75, which includes sliced fillet sautéed with mushrooms and onions, and is served with fries and a cute little pot of dipping gravy on the side.

The sandwich went down a storm, with the tender meat cooked perfectly and the beefy gravy acting as a great accompaniment to the meal.

The fries were light and fresh, and were also wolfed down pretty swiftly.

All in all, with two soft drinks, the bill came to just over £21. It’s worth mentioning that the service was just as good as the food.

It’s great to see that despite its swanky rooftop location, The Alchemist is offering quality food – and service – without the sky-high prices.

Rating: 4/5

Review: Cafe 71, Street Lane, Roundhay, Leeds