Two years in the making, Copenhagen restaurant Alchemist is opening its massive bronze doors to the public. Behind them awaits a whole new approach to dining.
Art, drama, gastronomy and spectacular visuals blend into one all-encompassing multisensory experience at the latest addition to Copenhagen’s culinary scene. Alchemist is the brain child of Chef Rasmus Munk, who stirred up a storm already at the first incarnation of Alchemist in 2015 – where a cavalcade of politically charged dishes were served up to 15 diners a night at a tiny dark and mysterious gastro bar.
Now, after almost two years of spending his workdays at a construction site, Munk is finally ready to launch the new, 20 times bigger, Alchemist. With it he aims to push the borders when it comes to the concept of fine dining. “The fundamental formula of the restaurant meal has changed very little in the last 100 years – it basically works according to the same script everywhere. When I started to investigate how theatre can enrich gastronomy together with our Dramaturge Louise Rahr Knudsen it dawned on me how similar the dramaturgy of a restaurant meal is to that of theatre. It made so many things in my identity as a chef make sense”, says Rasmus Munk.
Although there will be performers in the restaurant, the guests won’t be participating in any theatrics. The core of the place is still sitting down and dining – in a more or less traditional sense. Most of the drama actually happens on the plates, where layers of subtext and research line most of the 50 “impressions” on the menu – commenting on serious issues like gavage, food waste and plastic pollution as well as delivering humoristic nods to both Andy Warhol and Casper the friendly ghost.
The drama is further enhanced by the three-story restaurant’s interior design. A planetarium dome with a diameter of 57 feet constitutes the main dining room at the heart of the restaurant. Guests will dine at a winding bar, surrounded by stunning views, for example an indoor rendition of the aurora borealis. Another room in the 22.000 square feet space is taken up by an installation by NYC-graffiti artist Lady AIKO with the aim to convey the ambiance and multicultural vibe of New York, and a light and sound installation takes diners through a maze of LED-lights, that in the end comments on the struggles of the LGBTQ-community.
Munk himself has named this new style of dining Holistic Cuisine. Pressed to describe the experience with one word he chooses “filmic”. His wish for the future of Alchemist is simple – and far reaching. “I hope we will set things in motion. I want Alchemist to comment on the present and create something that can resound further than the restaurant industry. I want people to eat – and then think.”
Alchemist is located on Refshaleøen at Refshalevej 173c, 1432 Copenhagen, Denmark, in a warehouse where The Royal Danish Theatre used to build and store their back drops.
Reservations can be made from June 22 at www.alchemi...
The massive bronze doors that lead into Alchemist measure 100 sq ft (8 ft wide and 13 ft tall) and are designed by Danish Artist Maria Rubinke.
The height from floor to ceiling in the main lounge is over 74 feet (22 metres) with a partly veiled view into Alchemist’s test kitchen.
200 tons of steel went into the construction of the gigantic planetarium dome, which lies at the heart of Alchemist. The dome has a diameter of 57 feet (18 meters), with 12 mapping projectors supplying the guests at the winding dining bar with a 360-degree visual experience whence dining.
Guests pass through several sensory rooms during the dining experience. One room is themed on New York and is created by Japanese-American graffiti-artist Lady AIKO another is a sound- and light installation commenting on the struggles of the LGBTQ community.
The menu consists of 50 “impressions” and can be accompanied by one of three different wine pairings or one of two non-alcoholic beverage pairings mainly focusing on kombucha, water kefir, and tea.
The sonic identity of Alchemist is created by music producer and composer Lars Bork Andersen with the composition “A voyage of sound through mystical spaces”.
The owners of Alchemist are Rasmus Munk and former CEO of Saxo Bank, Lars Seier Christensen – who is the majority owner.
Chef Rasmus Munk designed and drew the new Alchemist himself back in 2016. Architect Michael Duncalf of Duncalf Ltd (UK) got involved in the end of 2017.
The interior at Alchemist is contemporary with a high focus on aesthetics, art and technology, far away from the colour palette and the interior styles that characterize a traditional restaurant.
An evening at Alchemist will take between 4 to 5 hours depending on each individual guest/party.
Alchemist seats 40 guests in one seating per evening. Guests arrive one party at a time from 6 pm to approx. 9.30 pm.
Wine Director Helle Hasting has curated Alchemist’s extensive wine list. The three-story wine cellar holds about 10,000 bottles of wine.
Key staff include Head Chef & Co owner Rasmus Munk, General Manager Lykke Metzger, Wine Director Helle Hasting, Head of Alchemist Taste Lab Louise Beck Brønnum, Dramaturg Louise Rahr Knudsen, and Director of Public Relations Katja Seerup Clausen.