Alkimia is a little hard to find, marked only by a discreet sign by the door and dark interior. We ventured in and up the stairs to find no reception desk or person but obviously tables. They have only been in this location since June, after taking a year off for a move from their previous location of 13 years. There are two rooms upstairs, along with private party rooms, one of which serves a more limited menu. Everything is very stylized including the uniforms of the personnel, the dishes and the modern decor in the rooms, but the ornate ceiling shows the building’s age. In the main dining room with the open kitchen, there are 6 tables and you have a choice of two tasting menus or a la carte dining.
Downstairs is a casual place also directed by Chef Jordi Vilà. Next to the open kitchen, where Chef Vilà makes last preparations, is a large wood fired grill. He does not come out to visit with guests. We chose the longer tasting menu but in hindsight would suggest the shorter one, as the extra courses on the longer tasting were among the weakest of the dishes. Also, the kitchen substituted clams for the sea cucumber dish without forewarning. There were no amuse but they do offer a wet hand towel before staring.
The tasting started with langoustine, prawn and fish with caviar was nice but mildly flavored. The first bit is the body meat and the second serving is the head topped with caviar. The instruction was to suck the head meat, which was a messy chore. The caviar was good but the bit of meat was not worth the effort. Another wet hand towel was welcome after this course.
The red pepper pie with anchovy was a combination of strong tastes that blended well. The 2 little balls on the plate tasted like a nut cookie. They were crunchy and tasty and made a nice addition to the pie when eaten together.
The grilled lettuce stuffed with venison was accompanied by a really tasty mushroom jam. Again, when the components were mixed together it was a good dish.
The blue soup was served cool. The langoustine that was inside the little rounds was delicate like crab meat. According the waitress the combination of lemon and fennel turns the broth the purple color. It was a mild but refreshing dish and apparently often added to the menu.
The mushrooms were served with caramelized savoy cabbage and lots of butter. This was one yummy dish.
The sea cucumber dish became clams and chanterelles with tomatoes. It was simple and flavorful.
Baby squid were stuffed with sausage and served in a broth with a gnocchi-like potato and chickpea balls. Also containing little pieces of some kind of stronger tasting fish and the squid tentacles it was another nice dish.
Another langoustine with “bread pudding” was the next course. The sauce was good and once again the dish was best if all the ingredients were mixed in a bite.
The catch of the day was a sea bass served with greens. It was nice but unexciting and best if the brown meat was peeled off.
The ravioli was a one bite option as it is filled with liquid. Underneath was pumpkin faisan, or pheasant. It was nicely flavored and fun textures.
For the meat of the day we chose pigeon which was served in a wrapper made from celery. It was tough.
Hare a la Royale was not attractive even in the pretty bowl but there was an interesting depth of flavor to the sauce. It reminded me of a good molé, but even a great sauce can’t make up for dry meat. We ordered a glass of heavier wine to go with this one and it really needed it.
The first dessert almond milk with pear and guava jelly. This is one of their regular desserts and you can see why. It was amazing – very good. Fun textures, tastes and temperatures and a nice amount of sweet.
The second dessert was a chocolate fondant with pickled plum ice cream. It was nice but not as fun as the first dessert.
The last treat was a vanilla macaroon that was among the best tasting macaroons I’ve had. Crisp, chewy and strong vanilla flavor made this a winner.