Monday, 4 January 2016

Christmas at The Alchemist (Greek Street) - Leeds City Centre

Following on the trend from last year I have decided to blog about our work Christmas Dinner again. Last year's abdominal failure at The Griffin led me to believe that Christmas Dinners couldn't get much worse. That was until we decided to book the Alchemist. 

A three course Christmas Dinner at The Alchemist was £26.95 per person for three courses and a £5 deposit was required for each head booked. Orders are not taken beforehand, which means they have a very heavily staffed kitchen with a ton of food they can dish up quickly or they precook it most of it and serve a half arsed meal to the masses. My bets are on the former. 
We had pre-booked the meal fairly soon after they opened on Greek Street despite this our group were unable to sit together with us separated in to a long table (made up of two long tables) and two booths secluding several of our party. Tables were laid out with crackers and we seated ourselves perusing over the drinks menu until served. 

I ordered half a bottle of the cheapest white plonk to share with another, it wasn't great for a table wine and my codrinker had to have soda and ice in hers to help it slide down. As with most wines the taste improved the further went down the bottle. 

For starters I ordered the chicken skewers, other options included sweetcorn soup and tiger prawn salad. Spying across the table the tiger prawns were the smallest I believe I have ever seen. 

My chicken skewers were not dry and quite juicy, however there was an overwhelming smell of vinegar and the blandness of the chicken would make it easy to fool them for fish skewers. 

The main courses included sirloin steak, fillet of salmon, turkey roulade and oven roasted bell peppers with spiced chickpeas and beans. I opted for the turkey, it was a Christmas dinner after all. 

What turned up still astounds me now. 

I realise the pictures are bad, the lighting was poor and my phone was struggling but I think you can still gather how poor the food was that was placed before me. 

Turkey roulade, not exactly what I was expecting. I am still debating whether it looks more like a face or cock and balls. The turkey was hard, mashed and wrapped around stuffing with one measly pig in blanket sandwiched between the two rolls. The turkey was so hard that in my attempts to eat it the roll shot right off of my plate! I discretely placed it back on my plate and there it remained. Vegetables were served separately and weren't much better. The greens were boiled so nothing too spectacular there and the roast potatoes had clearly been cooked and reheated as told by their leather like skins. 

Another angle and it still looks appalling
My colleague beside me ordered the sirloin steak, when giving her order to asked for it be cooked medium rare. The waitress explained that they couldn't cook it medium rare and that it only came in one of two options; pink or well done advising that this was because the steak was so thin. When the steak arrived I was expecting it to be a skirt steak or something similar, but it was just a normal sirloin steak, not the thickest but of reasonable thickness to cook it medium rare. Astounding. 

In attempt to not offend too many people I have described the dessert the best part of the meal, although this I feel would be giving it too much credit. Bakewell tart with ice cream was rather uninspiring but the other options were Christmas pud and torte. It was warm with a fluffy sponge and I lapped up as I was rather hungry having not eaten most of my dinner. 

There *must* be somewhere in Leeds that does a reasonable Christmas Dinner for around the £25 per head mark, surely. To please the masses it would need to have a turkey dinner option and somewhere within walking distance from Greek Street. Giraffe when it was on Greek street served a pretty decent duck leg on their Christmas menu but unfortunately they have since vacated the wallows of Greek Street. 

I wonder what next year will bring... 

1 comment:

Seren said...

My husband organised his team do at the Black Swan and was very, very impressed. The food there is good under normal circumstances anyway but he said they really did a good job with Christmas dinner. I was in charge of mine this year and overrode the shouts for turkey - went for curry at the Aagrah instead. It was really tasty, there was loads of food and all for less than £20 a head.