It wasn’t long ago that you wouldn’t even consider Media City as a destination for brunch, an evening meal or after work drinks. Yet years of investment, the arrival of the BBC and improved transport links have transformed the area. It’s safe to say that the Salford Quays has well and truly changed for the better.
Capitalising on this is Alchemist, whose £1.2 million investment has created a striking new waterside venue between the Lowry Theatre and MediaCityUK. On approach, it’s modern, almost brutalist design appears to be stepping out from the canal – a bold design that is impossible to miss.
The Alchemist MediaCity UK Venue
If you’ve been to any of the Alchemist venues before you should have a good idea what to expect: low-hung lighting, lots of gold cladding and plenty of giant prints and murals on the walls.
The view across the Ship Canal is extraordinary and only improves as the evening goes on. I highly recommend booking a table around sunset for the best experience.
The Alchemist also includes a terrace area outside (packed when we first arrived) that would be perfect for lazy summer afternoons or after-work drinks.
One issue I did have was the overall sound level in the place. Whilst I do like background music to be fairly loud, especially at the weekend, the design of the building and lack of sound dampening made it hard to hear staff members and other guests at times. Hopefully, this is something they can work in going forward.
Cocktails and Drinks @ The Alchemist MediaCity UK
What makes the Alchemist a go-to venue for many in Manchester is the considerable menu of fantastic cocktails & long drinks that are bound to please even the choosiest of cocktail connoisseur – it would be a waste to go without trying them!
As well as a full menu, the team at Alchemist are more than happy to put together any cocktail you can think of, ingredients permitting – including your classic Mojitos and Long Island Iced Teas if those are your drink of choice.
I went for DonDraper’s drink of choice, the Smokey Old Fashioned. It’s a smooth blend of Woodford Reserve whiskey and Maple Syrup with bitters served over golf ball ice (would love to know where you can buy that from). The syrup takes away much of the harshness of the whiskey, making it easier for those who struggle to drink whiskey on the rocks. Whiskey fans should be in for a treat.
My partner went for the ‘3.5Oz of Happiness’, an appetizing gin cocktail with Chambord Raspberry Gin and Vermouth served in a hip flask – it’s yours to keep too!
Food at the Alchemist Media City
To start, we ordered Edamame beans and Padron peppers to go with our drinks whilst we decided what to go for on the menu. Small portioned but tasty nevertheless. They would make the perfect accompaniment to a cocktail or three.
I opted for the Vegetarian Quorn Fajitas – great for those who like to get creative with their food. The fajitas were served alongside sautéed peppers and onions on a hot sizzling plate with tortillas guacamole, sour cream and a surprisingly spicy tomato salsa.
I really appreciate that each food item was served separately than altogether (perfect for those who are fussy eaters) and there was easily enough to fill each wrap and more.
The only part I would change is the lack of fajita spice added to the Quorn pieces – would have made the dish even better.
My partner went with the Japanese Ramen and with Spiced Both and oriental veg. For me, this dish didn’t have enough flavour and I wouldn’t go for again.
For those looking for something a little different on the Quays or a night out the Alchemist MediaCityUK is a great option, offering up-market drinks and a varied food menu to appease. I will be coming back to try a few more from the impressive cocktail menu ☺
The Alchemist Media City
The Bund, The Quays, Media City M50 3AB