As a poor university student, fine dining is not something that I do a lot of. When my mum suggested that we dine at Alchemy Restaurant and Bar for her birthday dinner, my enthusiasm was a little overwhelming to say the least. Within half an hour, I had visited the website, printed the menu for my technologically inept parents, and convinced them to book before they changed their minds and we ended up at Sizzler.
I had high hopes for Alchemy after hearing it praised by many. My first impression, however, left me a little uncertain. As it was my mum's birthday, my sister had bought a cake, sparklers, and candles to be brought out after dinner. She arrived early so the staff could put it in their fridge, but was informed rather rudely that it violated health and safety regulations and that she should have phoned ahead to inform them she was bringing it. She then waited outside for the rest of the family to arrive, and the staff requested that she wait inside but demanded that she order a drink. Perhaps these regulations are considered the norm in fine dining restaurants, but for newbies such as us, we were a little taken aback by the requests.
Excuse the poor photography. I blame the dim lighting!
The views and decor were spectacular, as was to be expected given the price of the meals. The restaurant is ideally located on the Brisbane River, and the Storey Bridge was visible from almost every seat at the table. The lighting was presumably dim to create ambiance, but I simply found it rather difficult to read my menu or see my food. The large gluten free range was pleasantly surprising, and I was particularly impressed by the attention to detail, such as a swift swap on my plate from ordinary bread to gluten free toast.
The food was delicious, and thoroughly enjoyed by all - even my picky father whose taste rarely extends past steak and three veg. The veal blanquette was a particular favourite, and definitely what I would order if I am ever fortunate (or rich) enough to go again.
Another menu item on my wish list is the nitrogen dessert, which we saw the making of from afar and is an incredibly visually impressive affair.
The final touch that concreted my favourable impression of Alchemy was dessert. We had not intended to order dessert as we knew we still had a cake sitting in the restaurant's fridge. Just as we were preparing to leave, the waitstaff brought out a plate of macaroons as an apology for being unable to serve the cake. The beautiful decor, impressive food, and staff's fine attention to detail have made me work a little harder on my assignments this week, because one day I hope that all my dining experiences can be in restaurants as impressive as Alchemy.