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[Alderley Edge, Cheshire] Merlin

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This was a family gathering celebration meal, venue picked by others. From a foody point of view, I dread these events. It’s all lowest common denominator. Someone doesn’t eat that. Someone else can’t afford that. Someone else’s idea of a varied meal is to have a small lump of meat next to their large lump of meat – and none of that foreign muck either.

Anyway, in the event, this turned out to be none too shabby pub food. The menu sticks fairly closely to a “Modern Brit” style most of time but does thrash about the Mediterranean in a fairly uncoordinated way for the remainder.

I kicked off with a chorizo hash, topped with a poached egg and a decent hollandaise. OK, the chorizo was a bit sparse but, otherwise, this was a plate which looked and tasted the business. The main course brought some nicely pink lamb rump, sauteed new potatoes and soubise sauce, incorporating pancetta, pearl onions and a separate bowl of root veg. No problem for me in hoovering this up.

My partner had shared a mezze plate with her mother. I gather they both liked it – usual Greek Cypriot dips, some roasted peppers and other veg, good crisp flatbreads. Ribeye steak came accurately cooked as requested and topped with a little horseradish butter. There were chips, of course. Now herself makes the point that they were described as “frites” for her dish and other dishes had “jenga chips” and “fat chips” – but everyone got the same bog standard frozen chips.

Others had desserts which seemed to go down well.

And, at this point, the evening took a nosedive. The bill arrives. There’s no mention of the fairly hefty deposit paid. They claim they have no record of a deposit (family member who made the reservation doesn’t have the receipt with her). Manager’s attitude aggravates what is already piss poor customer service. Family member ends up having to pay full bill, and has to return today with receipt to get refund. Left rather a sour note on the proceedings

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