If you follow me on Instagram, you'll already know that we headed back to our home town last weekend (if not, go check out @mylittlelondonkitchenblog...shameless plug!). Oxford is a lovely little city, famous for its old architecture, the university and endless bicycles. I really didn't appreciate how pretty it is while I lived there, but now that we're based in London, it's so nice to drive back and wander around. Since we moved away, Oxford has had a huge revamp with a new shopping centre that has become the central go-to shopping destination. If you head up to the roof terrace, you get a great view of the Oxford skyline with a choice of lots of lovely restaurants, one of which is The Alchemist.
I'll be honest, I was basing our decision mostly on the gorgeously instagrammable decor, made up of industrial style metals, leather, touches of gold and of course, vintage bottles. It was only upon entering that we found puffs of liquid nitrogen coming from the bar, with conical flasks and old written labels. There is a huge list of drinks to choose from, with non-alcoholic options too, so that everyone can be included in the mixology experience. And it is an experience! Working in visual merchandising, I've learned so much about the importance of theatrics and a memorable 'in-store' experience, and The Alchemist have done this perfectly. There is a consistent theme that runs throughout your visit and watching the cocktails being made whilst sat at the bar is fantastic!
I have almost unintentionally been avoiding alcohol for a while now, so we chose from the non-alcohol options and were not disappointed. My other half had the Bubblygum (Bubblegum, apple, cranberry, lime, bubbles) which was fluorescent pink, poured over dry ice to make it fizz and smoke like a potion from Harry Potter!
(And for all those HP fans out there...they also have a Butterbeer cocktail that swirls in gold around the glass with a foam top.)
Mum went for the Elixir (Pink grapefruit shrub, tonic, rich and citrusy) and I had the Mango Shake (White chocolate cream foam, orange, apple, lemon, mango, passionfruit).
An amazing benefit of being on the roof terrace is that the whole area is surrounded by sky, highlighted by The Alchemist's large windows. This was so lovely in the bright sunshine but must be amazing at night. I'm also loving the light fixtures!
Carrying through the theme, tiny conical flasks were used as salt and pepper shakers. I kind of want to DIY these for at home but my other half is studying chemistry, so he probably won't want our house to remind him of the lab!
One tip I do have is to talk to your waiter/waitress if you have any dietary requirements or allergies, as the menus don't give too much away about each dish. As someone with a nut allergy, I understand how important it is to have the allergen symbols and descriptions for each dish, so there aren't any nasty surprises.
If you love a night out somewhere that's a little bit different, with a quirky 'tell-your-friends' vibe, I would definitely recommend giving The Alchemist a try! If you're not local to Oxford, they have loads of other locations across the UK. They also run masterclasses for you to try your hand at mixing your own.
Let me know in the comments if you try it out and feel free to share this post on your socials to let your friends know about it too!