Warning: If you are planning to attend Alchemist any time soon, I recommend NOT reading this post. It shares each step along the way and part of the magic here is the surprise of the journey.
Another Warning: Alchemist shares some very eccentric bites. If you have a weak stomach or have ethical issues with eating some very strange animal parts, I would caution you against walking through these photos.
Alchemist is an experience that is as unique as it is extraordinary. It's not capturable. Having been through it, I'm not even sure that I captured even a small part of it. It is complex and amazing and difficult and awe-inspiring and beautiful.
As you enter through the 2-ton custom-carved brass doors (that open on their own to beckon you in), you are greeted by some of the most friendly, engaging staff I have ever seen. Handing you a cold, scented towel (so welcome on a sweltering day in Copenhagen), they ask about where you're from, what you're expecting, etc. The tone is set. They are ready for you.
From there, into a pitch black room. "Stand on the light on the floor." As you wait, giddy with anticipation, a violinist appears. She is from the Copenhagen Philharmonic and plays a sad Danish folk song. It's beautiful. SHE is beautiful. What a welcome.
As she finishes, the light fades back out and the wall lifts, drawing you into the lounge. A space buzzing with activity. 4 chairs were waiting just for us as we were welcomed by a server, explaining more about the restaurant and what was to come.
As we were served the first "impressions" (as Alchemist calls them), I have never seen such coordination. Two servers laid down four plates in complete sync with one another. They were similarly cleared effortlessly and in unison.
Let me tell you, these bites were absurd. Beautiful, odd, mystifying and supremely delicious. The drinks provided were incredible too.
You are looking at the test kitchen, which is buzzing with activity. Alchemist employs 8 full time chefs for the test kitchen alone! Along with 5 full time graphic designers, their skills on full display on the wine list. (Check out the video below.)
From there, you are used up stairs to the wine cellar, 5 stories tall and completely made of glass. Even the floor/landing you stand on is glass allowing you to look at the wines under your feet. The host gleefully guides you through the wines visually and answers any questions you may have.
Then, on to the dome. Alchemist's signature dining room with HD video playing 360 degrees overhead and a sound system that envelopes the space. "Immersive" may be too weak a word to describe it.
Sitting along the gorgeous, snaking bar, the many (many!!) courses come from a visible kitchen. Each dish has a message, from sustainability to blood donation, ocean plastics to world hunger, caged birds to child labor. The message comes from the servers, from the dish itself and is mirrored by ever changing worlds on the screen above you.
Each time the scene changed on the screen, the music would get louder and more urgent, subtly announcing "Look up". The transitions were unreal. I have capture most of them in videos below.
I should note that the staff is perfect. Simply perfect. Our primary server Martin was made for this, with an ease of delivery but engaging depth of knowledge about each dish, each wine, each everything. He referred to us BY NAME. ("Dave, your next wine will be...") The highest experience there is.
Their communication was incredible. At one point (following a particularly difficult bite), I joked with my new friends "Can we just have a steak or a piece of chicken or something??" 2 minutes later, a different server walked up with the next wine. "I hear we just want some steak or chicken over here!!" Such incredible little touches that made it clear that you were the star.
Following the meal here, we were used to the pink room. A hilariously fun 10 minutes with a performance actor, allowing you to decompress, laugh, dance (yes, dance!) and just have a really fun time.
From there, to the kitchen where a chef walks you through the space and their digital "pass" which tracks each "table" and where they are in the process.
On to the lounge, for final bites, coffee and tea and just an overall decompression. Martin stayed with us on into the lounge as well, expertly explaining teas and handling even the smallest request.
The lighting in the lounge were little jellyfish, consistently (yet subtly) moving around giving the space life and energy, tying directly into the overall themes for the evening.
Rasmus Munk, the 31 year old chef/creator/visionary was here too (as he had been in the dome, serving us a number of the impressions). He wore the same dress as all other chefs. No tiers. No special call out. Just one egalitarian team delivering the very finest experience.
I'm not sure how else to share what this was. With the visual, experiential and cause-based passions of the next generation, I have to think Alchemist is the first of many to come. But for now, the innovation and excellence of this place is singular. It's special. It is an absolute MUST DO.
Replying to Steven Smith
What do you think? I'd love to hear from you.