Gastronomy  ALCHEMY : Let Your Senses Guide You!
 
 
al·che·my {‘ælmi’}:
 “The magical power or process of transmuting a common substance,
usually of little value, into a substance of great value.”
 
  
The Concept
In the heart of the hustling Hong Kong, a new experience awaits the adventurous diner. Alchemy is a place where culinary conventions are thrown aside in favour of a truly sensory experience. Set across two levels, Alchemy delivers a very different experience in each.
 
Upstairs, a relaxed yet indulgent bar setting where the focus is on crafted cocktails; masterful mixology alongside casual dining.
 
Downstairs, a coming together of the most basic elements of a restaurant: food, space and people – but in a way that is entirely counterintuitive and with quite magical results. As the name might suggest, flavours and textures take on new dimensions as guests dine in complete darkness - raw ingredients combine with this unusual setting to create an experience verging on the miraculous.
 
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Upstairs: Alchemy Lounge
On the Ground floor level a stylish upper bar will be open for casual dining and crafted drinks at lunch, dinner & for weekend brunch. A selection of small plates will be available tapas-style, as well as assorted hot & cold dishes and indulgent desserts, accompanied by an impressive wine list. Crispy Saffron Risotto with smoked duck & balsamic rocket (HK$ 98), Seared Duck Foie Gras with apple compote, celery and home-made brioche (HK$ 138), Marinated Salmon with peppered macaroon, seaweed butter & Calamari (HK$ 138), Roasted Chicken & Sea Scallop with lotus crisp & XO sauce (HK$ 138), Vanilla Panna Cotta with Valrhona praline & salted butter cake (HK$ 98), and assortment of Mini Tarts – berries / chocolate / mascarpone / lemon / toffee / green tea -  (HK$ 98)
 
Bar Manager Kevin Le Nabasque, previously of Le Boudoir on Wyndham Street, will be creating a new mystery cocktail each week, to be sampled alongside signature cocktails including Mascarade (HK$ 120), a mix of Chivas 12, strawberry & mint and Buddha's Tear (HK$ 120) made of Absolut Vanilla, Coconut & Kaffir Lime
 
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Downstairs : Alchemy in the Dark
Introducing a sensory and social experience, where guests are invited to re-evaluate their perception of taste and smell. Total darkness removes the attention from the superficial and focuses the mind entirely on the array of tastes and textures with which we’re presented.
 
In an 850sq. ft. room with no light, this intimate setting has only 25 seats. Each guest is personally greeted and guided to their table by our team of ‘guides’ – visually impaired waiting staff – and will experience a new style of dining – relying entirely on touch, smell, taste and hearing; each sense heightened by the completely dark environment.
 
The menu will change regularly with a focus on highly distinct textures and flavours, and dishes will retain the structure and organization on the plate as in a traditional restaurant.
 
The theme of Alchemy in the Dark extends also to people – with no mobile phones and no light pollution, guests are invited to engage in a social experience alchemy between them without distractions; a richly human experience that is both mysterious and intriguing.
 
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The Experience
On arrival, an orientation is offered at which our team can answer guests’ questions before leading them into the dining room. At this point diners are invited to share details of any allergies and dislikes. Rather than selection from a menu, the chef will craft a three-course menu with the construction and arrangement of each dish explained in detail.
 
The menu remains secret until the end of the meal, so naturally guests have fun guessing what is being served. And at the end, our team explain the dishes savoured, complete with photography of each shared via an iPad.
 
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The Team
Chef Pascal
Chef Pascal Breant hails from Normandy in northern France. His culinary journey began at aged 8, helping after school in the family ‘boulangerie’.
 
At age 17 he began his apprenticeship at Le Bristol (Paris, One Michelin Star at the time), followed by noted restaurants including La Tour d'Argent (Paris, Three Michelin Stars at the time) and restaurant Issautier (Nice, Two Michelin Stars at the Time) as he developed his craft.
 
Seeking knowledge in different cultures, he left France in 1989.
His culinary journey has taken him across more than 10 countries from America to Asia.
After more than ten years experiencing Japan, United States, Caribbean, United Kingdom, Germany, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand, he chose Hong Kong to settle and refine his art.
 
His cuisine is modern French in style with the international influence you might expect from a chef with such diverse international experience.
 
Chef Pascal says: “Asking diners to have blind faith in their sense of smell, taste and touch makes very important not to neglect the dish in any way. Dishes at Alchemy in the Dark will be presented as if they were seen; every detail is crucial. The major thing is to select high quality products; seasoning is essential”.
 
Alchemy in the Dark will focus on proposing high-quality cuisine that loses none of its elegance for the setting.
 
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The Guides
A team of three visually-impaired waiting staff will take care of our guests as they experience dining at Alchemy in the Dark. With a role that goes beyond usual restaurant service they will act as ‘guides’, using their long experience of living without full sight to steer diners through their voyage of discovery.
 
Leading the floor team will be Michael. Born and raised in the UK, Michael grew up within the family restaurant business and attended hotel management school.
 
Michael, one of the waiter, says “I’m incredibly excited to be part of the team bringing this concept to Hong Kong for the first time. The biggest challenge for me will be making our guests, who might otherwise be uncomfortable in complete darkness, feel at ease – but it’s one that I’m looking really forward to”.
 
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About the Space
Alchemy Lounge evokes a 19th Century boudoir or private study; an intimate setting inspired by the Alchemist's world. This subdued yet stylish space features a rich palette of contrasting textures:  wooden parquet, monotone mosaics, black lacquer and champagne brass accents against the fragility of blown glass globes and crystal carafes’ the authentic & antique meets the modern in a setting filled with character.
 
In contrast to the rich, vivid aesthetic of the upper bar, the restaurant downstairs provides total darkness. Completely immersive, the focus is on putting guests at ease, allowing them to enjoy the experience that is immersive and sensory in all ways but one.

Richard Moreau of In situ & Partners said “the biggest challenge was to leave design conventions behind and create environment that is striking despite not being seen. To counteract any unease that guests might feel in total darkness the comfort and quality of the seating was paramount. The space features curved angles, smooth surfaces and fabrics that are pleasing to the touch, rather than the eye.”
 
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Alchemy in the Dark will open from Monday to Saturday from 7pm to 11pm by reservation only.
Alchemy Lounge will open Monday to Saturday from 12 noon to 11pm.
 
Alchemy in the Dark will offer a 3-course menu at HK$500 per head, with the option of wine pairing at a further HK$ 700 per person.
 
No service charge will be applied at Alchemy Lounge and Alchemy in the Dark, gratuities are offered at the guest’s discretion.
 
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For Reservation:
G/F & LG/F, 16, Arbuthnot Road, Central, Hong Kong
(852) 6821 2801

www.alchemy-concept.com
Facebook : alchemyconcepthk
Twitter : FrenchCrea_HK
Pinterest : frenchcreations
Instagram : frenchcreations
Restaurant group French Creations is noted for its authentically French casual dining venues across Hong Kong Island. Founded by Jérôme Spitzer and Olivier Caisson with the opening of Pastis on in November 2009, the group has enjoyed rapid and successful expansion with cocktail lounge Le Boudoir in October 2010, Happy Valley favourite Saint-Germain in June 2011, French American Bistro (F.A.B.) in March 2012, and expanding west with the opening of Metropolitain in Sai Ying Pun in March 2013. Alchemy represents the sixth opening for the group, and its first venture within fine dining.

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