Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Lunch @ Alchemy Bar & Restaurant

I checked out Alchemy Bar & Restaurant in Manuka with a fellow foodie during the first few weeks of its opening. There are quite a few nice things on the menu so I was excited to try it out. The first thing you notice upon entering the restaurant is all the space. There aren't that many tables inside for dining, but then I remembered it is also a bar/lounge and must need the space for busy weekend drinks. It was also very quiet with only half the tables occupied.

For a starter, my friend and I shared some tapas. The menu offers various tapas at $3 each. We would've ordered the tapas platter (one of each of the tapas for $29) but thought it might be too much with our mains. We decided on the tomato and basil arancini balls and the apple and prosciutto salad. The arancini balls were nice and slightly crispy on the outside - simple but delicious. The salad combination of apple of prosciutto worked really well together too. Refreshing!

For the main, I ordered the oxtail tortellini ($20.50) which looked awesome when it came out.
However, when I bit into it, the pasta dough was very tough and hard. I tried taking a photo of this  below - you can see the dry part of the pasta. I still can't figure out if it was undercooked, reheated or just not fresh enough. All the tortellini pieces were the same. My friend, who regularly cooks with oxtail, couldn't even taste the meat. The best part of the dish was the sauce - creamy and flavourful, and the fresh rocket and shaved parmesan on top.

My friend ordered the truffle cream spaghetti with spiced wagyu meatballs ($20.50). The spaghetti itself was cooked perfectly al dente. I've noticed when Canberra restaurants serve a 'truffle' dish, there are only a few specks of the truffle tossed throughout the dish. I understand it is quite expensive but am disappointed that the truffle flavour isn't more prominent. I quite liked the meatballs - delicious wagyu beef mince cooked in spicy tomato sauce. My friend wasn't too impressed with this dish.

The best part of the meal were the tapas.

I came back again for lunch a few weeks later with another group of friends who wanted to try the place out. This time I ordered the braised lamb shanks ($21.50). Nicely presented and quite a big serving that I couldn't finish the dish. I thought it was pretty average and there wasn't anything special about it. The meat wasn't that tender and didn't fall off the bone easily either. But for around the $20 mark, its a pretty decent feed.

I've noticed Alchemy have recently updated and redesigned their menu adding a few more dishes. I think they may have increased their prices slightly as I'm sure the lamb shanks were $19.50 previously.  Still a value for money dish.

I really liked the attentive and friendly service here and hope the quality of the food improves.

Foodgasm 5/10

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