Tucked away in the neighborhood of Poblacion, Alchemy Bistro Bar (Food + Potions) has been serving up straightforward European meals since last year. Surprisingly, it has an extensive menu of not only wines and beers but also food served in generous and satisfying portions.
This restaurant is an approachable spot that’s only a short walk from the hip Jupiter Street and is located quite in the heart of the developing foodie district in Makati. We visited Alchemy last Sunday and found that is a good option for a special date or a night out with your barkada.
Review of Alchemy Bistro Bar (Poblacion, Makati City)
If you know the manga/anime series Fullmetal Alchemist or are familiar with the concept of alchemy, I’m sure you will love the consistent decorations and displays here at the Alchemy Bistro Bar. I didn’t have any idea until my boyfriend explained that “alchemy” is seemingly a magical process of transformation, creation, or transmutation of matter with the sequence of comprehension, deconstruction, and reconstruction.
Alchemy is associated with the medieval forerunner of chemistry, and this is why we saw test tubes and some lab objects that looked weird at first. As I began to slowly grasp its meaning, everything made perfect sense. The interpretation applied on the interior design was awesome.
Brick and purple-painted walls gave a beautiful sophisticated look throughout the area. On one side of the dining room, full-length windows provided warm and flattering natural light during daytime. On the opposite view, the bar full of wines, beers, and “potions” brought a fitting backdrop as the focal accent of the bistro.
Staying true to the venue’s theme, a picture of the transmutation circle, print of old books as wallpaper, gargoyles, and mannequins without heads were absolutely attention-grabbing elements that characterize the mystical practice of alchemy.
The open kitchen at the side gave a glimpse of some live action going on. It’s always nice to say a quick “hi” to the chef. 🙂
Lushly cushioned chairs were comfortable to sit on, and the rest of the furniture managed to project luxury without scaring away those who might just want a quick lunch or a glass of cocktail. Overall, Alchemy Bistro Bar looked like a great spot that’s chic enough for special occasions but also casual enough for a relaxed dinner with a friend.
At Alchemy Bistro Bar, there’s also an entertainment stage where music is played all night long. Genre of songs rotates nightly and everyone is welcome to dance to the beats.
The second floor showed a different side of the Alchemy Bistro Bar altogether. Bright color combinations and creative dining layouts made sure that there are enough yellow-brown clad seats to make guests feel like they got the best table in the house.
Personable and thorough, the staff toured us around and introduced dishes on the menu professionally. Her kind gesture definitely won plus points on customer service. Serving of the food and drinks was done well and in a timely manner. It was also a pleasant experience to meet and chat with the owner who also happens to be the main chef of the restaurant.
with Chef/Owner Tina Moscardon
For appetizer, we shared a platter of Baked Oysters (PhP 350, 6 pieces) which I thought were really good. Beneath its crisp, browned surface, a buttery filling of spinach, Hollandaise sauce, and Gruyère cheese offered a delightful contrast to the oyster’s briny and meaty taste and texture.
Baked in the shell, the oysters were fresh and properly salty. It’s one of those entrees that taste so good that it’s hard to imagine anything tasting better.
Next, we were served with the Slow-braised Lamb Shank (PhP 775), a house specialty that’s been marinated and slowly braised for 42 hours. Wow! The tenderness of this New Zealand lamb shank was incredible. It was fall-apart soft off the bone.
Mediterranean couscous, sultanas, pine nuts, mint, carrots, and French beans added a gently sweet spice with a surprising depth. The accompanying sauce also lifted the flavor that went well with the lamb shank. However, in the end, we still thought that the lamb tasted too “mild” or bland for our liking.
Also marinated and cooked for more than 36 hours, the glistening Roasted Organic Chicken (PhP 450) was nice but not so rich. With a tea-like aroma, the taste of rosemary was evident and the flavor clung to every bite. Paired with rice pilaf vegetables and chicken jus, this chicken dish was both earthy and succulent.
The Alchemy Pizza (PhP 450) consisted of ingredients having distinct flavors that sadly overpowered more than complemented the others. The result of putting speck, balsamic reduction, truffle oil, Scamorza cheese, and arugula could be a hit or a miss according to one’s tasting preference.
What’s nice though was that it didn’t skimp on any of the toppings. I just did not appreciate the strong and salty flavor profile of the cured ham. It was worth a try nonetheless.
For desserts, we had the Crème Brûlée (PhP 210), a classic made with Fresh vanilla beans, and the Warm Molten Chocolate Cake (PhP 240), a soft-centered Belgian chocolate cake with chantilly cream on the side. Not too sweet and not too heavy, these treats were enjoyable.
For the most part, I loved how the simple and subtle flavors of vanilla bean and burnt caramel were highlighted in the crème brûlée.
Alchemy Bistro Bar offers a super long list of drinks, but what took our interest were the mocktails. Served in a sexy slanted glass, the Cucumber Delight (PhP 210) tasted okay and quite natural. It was made with a healthy blend of fresh cucumber, mint, and lime.
Louie ordered the Thirst Quencher (PhP 210) that was made with pineapple, orange, and ginger ale. In fairness, there’s a good balance of citrus notes and spiciness of ginger. It’s a drink recommended for serious ginger ale fanatics.
Price for Value: ★★★☆☆
While decors and the theme may look bizarre, food and drinks at the Alchemy Bistro Bar (Food + Potions) in Makati are pretty decent and not the “experimental” type as I initially had in mind. This is a great place to explore when you feel like discovering French fare and more European-inspired dishes plus cool drinks to try out.
Price point is affordable and not alarmingly expensive. They even serve BUDGET LUNCH MEALS from Tuesday to Sunday, and this calls for a great deal for people who live or work nearby. Check out its Facebook page to know more of their promos and upcoming events.