When you step inside the mysterious world of ALCHEMY restaurant on Arbuthnot Road, you are greeted by a nice receptionist, who will still outside, check that you either have a reservation for dinner, or otherwise guide you to their bar area for one of their interesting cocktails. Don’t bother trying to chop a dinner seat by walking in, it’s booked out for the next month so take you phone and call them right now (+852 6821-2801.), if you want to have dinner there any time soon. And no Lunch offerings there just yet, but the chef told us it’s being worked on.
So if you are one of the lucky ones with a reservation up your pocket, you will be assigned one of their staff, and sitting down in the upstairs lounge area, you will get a personal intro to the restaurant, the procedures and rules:
– No, objects allowed in the restaurant
– No light sources allowed, yes your fancy watch will have to stay outside too
– No getting up from your chair alone, you might just knock over a couple of wine bottles without even knowing it.
Then you will be assigned to one of their lovely staff downstairs, which are all visually impaired people, knowing their way around the dark dining area perfectly. Lastly, you will get to choose from the menu, and it’s relatively straight forward as there are only 2 options:
– 500HKD for the 3 course menu
– 700HKD for the 3 course menu with wine pairing (highly recommended, as it will actually put your wine expert senses to the real test, since you wont be told what type of wine you are being served)
After you have decided, you can voice out any dietary restrictions, lock your valuables in one of their lockers and head the stairs down to the restaurant.
Dinning in the Dark – The Experience
Once you have descended the stairs down, you will be let through 3 thick curtains towards the 25-seater room, making sure not a speck of light actually reaches the restaurant. Only point of complaint here is, it doesn’t really work, there are two sources of light in the room, which will distract your attention, and unfortunately keep on popping back into your vision of view, simply because they are there, and you will notice them. One is the faint outlines of the exit sign, the other is the red ring of LED’s mounted on the infra red camera hanging in the room. Unfortunately it’s just something really small, but it destroys the illusion of complete darkness.
Your food will be served by the service personal which wheels it into the room, and we have to say, it was delicious. Not much shall be revealed here upfront, but the chef told us that the menu is changing every week, so you can actually come multiple times, and still enjoy the fun of the guessing game “What are we actually eating”. Needless to say, we refused to use our cutlery and totally relied on our hands, hence our advice, wash them neatly in the bathroom upstairs before heading down for dinner.
Every course consists of at least 5 different items, so you have a lot to guess, and trust me, it’s more difficult than you might imagine, flavors you have tasted a hundred times before, suddenly become nameless without the visuals, and textures take on a whole new level of importance for your dish.
We thoroughly enjoyed the socializing the most, since there is no other distraction than maybe the voices of the other guests, you can focus on your partner and your conversation completely. If you have those friends with the phones glued to their hands, take them here for some therapy sessions.
After finishing dinner you will be guided back upstairs, where your dishes will be shown to you and explained on an iPad, revealing most interesting wrong interpretations of the food you had.
Some samples of previous menu items below:
– Roasted chicken and sea scallop with lotus crisp and XO sauce
– Iberico shoulder with cumin crisp olive and sweet chili
– Braised beef short rib with fingerling potatoes and merlot reduction
– Seared duck foie gras with apple compote, celery, and brioche
– Venison carpaccio with shaved Parmesan and truffle dressing
Alchemy’s Dinner in the Dark
G/F & LG/F, 16 Arbuthnot Road, Central