As far as Italian goes, Alchemy takes the consolation prize for an attempt at authenticity. The two-and-a-half-year-old bistro with upstairs seating juts off a hotel in Thamel and would be better dubbed a pasteria than pizzeria.
Pizza at Alchemy, though intact, is not its forte. The options are standard, but customisable pizzas are not readily afforded.
Its speciality, the Pizza Quatro Stagioni (Rs 425), is a sizable pie of ham, mushrooms, olives and artichoke topped separately in four parts. The dough itself is light and crispy but void of any lasting flavour and is more akin to unleavened bread, matza or a plain fateer. The mozzarella and the tomato sauce are scant, and though the sectioned toppings present an aesthetic layout, the quatro stagioni leaves an unsatisfying experience.
But don't brush them off just yet. Alchemy strains a Spaghetti alla Puttanseca (Rs 385) al dente mingled in a spicy tomato sauce, anchovies, olives, capers, garlic, parsley and E.V.O.O. (extra virgin olive oil). Traces of anchovy were faint but the dish overall was top notch. Complimentary bread to mop up the plate is sadly absent.
The Ravioli with traditional meat sauce (Rs 385) is just shy of impeccable. The ragł is rich and the cheese, though not quite ricotta as advertised, is creamy. Spinach, also advertised, was missing from the stuffing.
Alchemy may have taken some shortcuts in its mains but for dessert, it cuts no corners. You can try the homemade rum raisin gelato among other flavours (Rs 100/110 cone or cup). But here is my suggestion: upon entering the restaurant, it is best to go ahead and order a slice of Tiramisu (Rs 200), yielding proper time to thaw the 'pick-me-up' layers of cake, coffee and cream. Or if you're running late, order the cake with a shot of hot espresso and then douse the cake with no shame. Sure, there are no ladyfingers or mascarpone. But after a bite of arguably the best rendition of tiramisu you'll find within reach, all is forgiven.
Come down the lane from Kathmandu Guesthouse towards Chetrapati, turn right at the end and check-in at the Hotel Family Home