Sunday, 3 January 2016

Lunch at The Alchemist (Greek Street) Leeds City Centre

The Alchemist, if you haven't heard, has opened a new place on Greek Street. A smart move considering a new boutique hotel is being built opposite. The whole street is undergoing a rejuvenation which to be honest is long overdue. When I first started drinking in Leeds city centre 10 years ago (okay maybe 12) Greek Street was where the older folk went out, there were a lot of divorcees hanging out there (or so it seemed) and a fair few young women latching on to older guys. Back to the present, in addition to Alchemist, Gusto has also opened up shop on Greek Street and The Living Room has been rebranded and refurbed in to The Liquorist and from the scaffolding it would appear that La Tasca are also having a face lift.

The Alchemist on Greek Street appears much bigger than the one in Trinity, although it still attracts the same folk on a weekend and during the day it's mainly filled with office workers enjoying a leisurely or working lunch.

The Alchemist is close proximity to my work place, when planning department lunches we always struggle to find somewhere cheap that can cater for 10 or so of us, since Alchemist has opened I have already been twice for lunch and we'd booked our Christmas Dinner there too (stay tuned for that post).

If you are booking a large table be aware that they ask for a £5 deposit per head to secure your table, at least it guarantees less drop outs for them and for you if you're trying to organise everyone. If you sign up to Alchemist's mailing list they'll send you a card which means you can book (online) and save 20%, but you'll need your card when you arrive and state that you have such a card (despite saying this online) to receive your discount.

Inside is separated in to tables and bar area, it's had a spruce up and looks a lot better than when it was prohibition but still holds some of the same character, such as bar position and entrance. 

On the tables the salt and Pepper is kept within the Alchemy theme and presented in measuring glasses, the corks have small holes in the top but I expect that many people will try to remove these which result in them tipping a heap of salt or pepper on to their plate. I saw a few of my dining companions try the same before spotting the holes. 

On my first lunch visit I ordered a flat white and a spicy bean, guacamole and sour cream wrap. Served with fries or salad; not one to turn down a chip I opted for the former. 

The wrap didn't hold itself together very well and I struggled to eat it with my hands, as is normally standard with a wrap, and instead had to revert to a knife and fork. The chips were pretty average with sauces at request. Overall taste was okay but not outstanding; it was standard pub lunch fare. On a return lunch trip a colleague ordered the same and found it much more rigid than my own and was able to eat it wrap style. 

On my second lunch trip I ordered the (classic) club sandwich, once again served with salad or fries. 

With a middle layer of bread and a sandwich too tall to eat with my hands I de-constructing the sandwich with my knife and folk and skipped out some of the bread (I'm not having a great time with bread at the moment). 

Again the food was fairly average with not much to write home about. The food is relatively cheap with the 20% discount and it is served relatively quickly, turnover of a table of 8-10 people took just under an hour meaning we could get back to our desks within lunch hour times. If you're looking for a quick work lunch that even picky eaters can find something to eat on the menu, or if you're looking for a no food thrills lunch with fancy cocktails instead then Alchemist could be the option for you/your party.

Water is served in metallic pots that look like tea light holders, I am almost certain I have seen them being used a candle holders in other establishments. When you reach the bottom of said canister you can see a close up of you face glaring at you from the reflective beneath. Lovely. Coffee is served standard without latte or description of coffee used, it's somewhere between Starbucks and independent quality although lying more towards the Starbucks point on the coffee spectrum. 

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