Worst First Date: The Alchemist

I often hear urban myths about men organising surprise proposals, or leading their girls on clue-laden missions to discover amazing presents. Hell! I’ve even know of a dad who buys thoughtful presents. But I’m having none of it; I’ve never known a man who can take a girl on a half-decent date. Although a piss up in a brewery is probably within their abilities. I think they save all of their planning skills up for stag weekends.

This has driven me to take command, to actively seek out dream date venues. It’s ironic because the least attractive man to me is one who is weak-willed, unopinionated and frankly, a bit wet.

Some months ago (I stress that this was some time ago, and very much not my current beau) I found The Alchemist on a ‘just opened’ website, and keen to go I found a man to take me. 

And by ‘take me’, I mean he was supposed to meet me at Liverpool St Station, but elected to just go to the bar, get himself a drink and send me a pin of his location on Whatsapp. What a joker! 

Things didn’t get much better when he told me he didn’t date fat girls and that I wasn’t far off this category; that he’d been thinking about asking me out for a while and hadn’t “found anyone better so…”; that this couldn’t be a relationship unless I changed this, this, this, blah blah blah. He told me about his many recent holidays; Kenyan Safari (“you wouldn’t like Africa”), Marbella (“you wouldn’t like Marbs”), San Francisco (“I can’t imagine you in San Fran”). There was no explanation offered either- perhaps I look like I prefer staying at home! 

I left the bar in a rage. At least he paid I suppose.

And yes, I did see him again! Madness!

Anyway, I thought I’d give The Alchemist another chance. A mate date this time.

The cock menu itself is a sight to behold: a folded parchment, illustrated with medieval, scientific diagrams and detailing a whole series of potable potions.

We opted for the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party- a sharing cocktail served in teacups (what else!) The mixologist, if that’s the term they choose to adopt, gathered various shaped beakers, an open flame burner, liquids (presumable alchoholic), fruits and herbs. Had we been wearing plastic goggles it might have been a chemistry lesson from the jolly old days of grammar school.   


She kindly explained that heating the bottom chamber evaporated the liquid into the top chamber where it inflused with the fruit. The burner is then removed and gravity (I imagine, or maybe a vacuum?) drained/sucked the liquid back into the bottom chamber sans fruit.

Next she dropped dry ice pellets into clean beakers and poured the fruit-infused liquid on top of it which caused a cloud of dry ice to irrupt from the beaker like a tiny volcano. I think this is called sublimation (who’d have thought one would be spouting out these terms over a decade after those dreaded Chem lessons!)   


After the dry ice subsided we were left with a beaker full of the most divine cocktail, which we decanted into our willow-patterned teacups. However I couldn’t tell you what was in it!

An absolutely darling bar with an exciting cock list- just pick your date wisely!

Fondues & Fairy Tales


There seems to be an apr├Ęs ski theme to this Christmas season- a few different places are offering raclettes, sleigh rides and warm alcoholic drinks, all the while one is wrapped up in a snuggly blanket (my favourite thing).
On Saturday, after battling through the hordes of Black Friday nutters, I found myself on the roof of Selfridges (and by ‘found’ I mean I was on a mission to arrange the most amazing date day and prove that I’m the best at this sort of thing) at Le Chalet, gorging on the most delicious blue cheese fondue, the tenderest rib and the wonderfully warming Courvoisier hot chocolate. In the mild weather blankets weren’t necessary sadly, but everything else was perfect.

Following on from Awesomest Date Ever Part I, we hopped in a cab across river and away from the crazy shopping people. Our destination was the OXO Tower for Philip Pullman’s Grimm Tales; an absolutely delightful immersive theatre experience.
I captured very little on film, probably because I was so absorbed in what was going on around me. There was a cast of about 10, from what I could tell, acting out tales I knew well and tales I’d never come across. With fairy tales there is that certain sense of familiarity in the themes and the narrative structure, I think this is what makes them all the more enjoyable.
“Follow me!” Someone cried, and we all marched through ‘woodland’, up and down flights of stairs, round and round this disused building to find these raconteurs.
As with all these events, too much information can spoil them for others so I’ll leave it at that.