Restaurant review: The Alchemist, MediaCityUK

Adam Lowe

The Alchemist at MediaCityUK is located beside the water in a rather space-age angular golden building. Inside, the typical Alchemist brand shines through: lots of glass and bronze, and gloriously fabulous wallpaper!

Locals watched the building work over the last few months, and the unique building was the talk of the town! It’s great to finally see it all come together.

The Alchemist is recognised usually for its colourful and pyrotechnic cocktails. As such we started off with a look at the vast and varied drinks menu. We kicked off with an Elixir for me (soft) and the Drug Rummer for my partner. Both were delicious, and thankfully there’s plenty of choice whatever your favourite tipple (or even if, like me, you rarely drink). We also recommend house cocktail The Quay Lime Pie.

The menu is somewhat familiar if you’ve eaten at The Alchemist before, but we were pleased to see some changes since our last visit.

For starters I had the crab bon bons with lobster mayo. These were enjoyably creamy, soft and just a little decadent. The lobster mayo made this dish.

Our second starter was the Thai fish cakes with sweet chilli sauce. Slightly spicy but full of flavour, these are a firm favourite of mine – smaller than the fish cakes you’ll get at The Grill on New York Street, but more numerous, and using the same ingredients.

Next up, I tried a main that appears so be new: the Nori blackened salmon with a refreshing and fruity mango and pineapple salad. This was light and delicious, and would go well with a range of sides if you’re hungry (but the dish alone was more than enough for me!).

My partner had a wholesome and filling katsu chicken curry in panko (chilli and lemon) breadcrumb, accompanied with fragrant coriander rice with spring onion. Again, there was plenty here, and the creaminess of the peanut sauce was the perfect balance to the herbs and spices.

Onto desserts, then, and this is where I was really impressed. I’m usually low-carb in general, so skip desserts most of the time. But I’m glad I didn’t this time. I ordered the crunchy, cinnamon-y banana fritters lashed with caramel and topped with vanilla ice cream. This was a fantastic treat, not too sweet, but enough to satisfy my cravings for sugar.

My partner had an irresistible sticky toffee pudding that went beyond wicked indulgence and was perhaps even better… I simply had to try both.

The service at The Alchemist was, as always, impeccable. That rigorous Living Ventures training shines through, and it was nice to see a few familiar faces from the city centre restaurants working out here in the oasis of MediaCity.

Overall, The Alchemist MediaCityUK is a success. Bringing the trademark Alchemist style and placing it beside the tranquil views over the Salford Quays is a great match that offers something slightly different to the restaurants at Spinningfields and New York Street. The vibrant professional community based around the Quays also lends the venue a bustling energy perfect for celeb-spotting and cocktails with the girls alike.

More information

For more information, visit

The Alchemist, The Bund, The Quays, Salford M50 3AB

About Adam Lowe

Adam Lowe is an award-winning author, editor and publisher from Leeds, now based in Manchester. He runs Dog Horn Publishing and is Director and Writing Coordinator for Young Enigma, a writer development programme for LGBT young people. He sometimes performs as Beyonce Holes.