5-9 Wilmslow Road, Alderley Edge, SK9 7QLThe Merlin is probably the most impressive building in the area, inside the décor has been varied in each room to create an interest and individuality that is both stylish and welcoming; it also has a ten bedroom hotel upstairs. It is one of those pubs that have surfaced on the mainstream of casual eating in the UK and are taking an increasing share of the market, evidenced by their growth in numbers and the popularity of what they have to offer. If this results in a 'type' there is certainly no harm in that. Contemporary pubs such as these usually share a number of characteristics. An important feature is space, preferably a restaurant where you are comfortable, not over-awed, and not sharing elbow space with the next table, however sociable they may be.
The Merlin is probably the most impressive building in the area, inside the décor has been varied in each room to create an interest and individuality that is both stylish and welcoming; it also has a ten bedroom hotel upstairs. It is one of those pubs that have surfaced on the mainstream of casual eating in the UK and are taking an increasing share of the market, evidenced by their growth in numbers and the popularity of what they have to offer. If this results in a 'type' there is certainly no harm in that.
Contemporary pubs such as these usually share a number of characteristics. An important feature is space, preferably a restaurant where you are comfortable, not over-awed, and not sharing elbow space with the next table, however sociable they may be. Good, too, to have an external tiered terrace with upper patio and lawns, providing 100 seats as an optional al fresco eating out space, and by no means least a roomy and well-stocked bar where you can actually get served without undue delay. After all, drinking should be taken seriously.
If a pub offers all of these, and is in a good location, there is little reason in today's economic climate why it should not flourish. The Merlin provides ample evidence that this is true. Looking out over the Cheshire Plain, between Wilmslow and Alderley Edge, the pub has an illustrious history dating from when it was built as a private house for Sir Thomas de Trafford in the 1880s.
But of course there are other factors, not least of which is the food and drink. The term 'gastropub' covers a multitude of blessings, and it is possible to see influences of brasserie, bistro, restaurant and even café at work within the great gastro umbrella. So expect to find no one single cuisine, but a blend designed to provide something for everybody, no matter what their treat may be.
To set the right note of fashionable sociability there are sharing plates, antipasti of Italian meats, dolcelatte, marinated vegetables and warm stone-baked flatbreads, or Mediterranean mezze of hummus, roasted vegetables, fregola, tzatziki, feta, spinach and ricotta pâté with flatbreads.
Amongst the starters, expect to find freshly made soup, smoked salmon with pomegranate molasses, fennel and micro herb salad, or gambas with rocket, garlic aioli and rustic bread. Look, too, for scallops of the day. The salads offer chargrilled chicken, courgette, fennel, apple, asparagus, hazelnut and balsamic dressing, and for the seafood enthusiasts some prawn and avocado with bacon, mango, pecans, orange and pomegranate vinaigrette receive a rapturous welcome.
These days no self-respecting gastropub can afford to be without its pizza range; look for a classic margherita of cherry tomatoes, pomodoro, mozzarella and basil, the rustica with roasted Mediterranean vegetables, goats' cheese and cherry tomatoes, or a piccante with pepperoni, chorizo, tomato and jalapeños.
Pastas include tagliatelle with slow cooked Bolognaise and parmesan, or linguini with tiger prawns, crab, chorizo, chilli, tomato and white wine. For the big event there is always roast rump of lamb with sauce soubise, asparagus, pancetta, button onions and baby potatoes. Spit chicken, lemon, garlic, thyme and frites is popular, a sign of the times and improving taste in eating. Battered haddock with frites, tartare sauce and minted mushy peas is worth trying too. For hearty eaters there are good fillet and rib-eye steaks or salmon with crab, chorizo fishcakes, roasted sweet corn and cherry tomato salsa.
A wide range of supporting dishes includes tomato and red onions, and cabbage, leeks and peas. Desserts are some of the best you'll encounter with apple, blackcurrant crumble and vanilla custard, and sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream, and there is also a selection of cheeses to set the buffs alight.
The Merlin stocks a wide range of beers, both well-loved draught ales and bottled from Europe. The wine list covers plenty of territory from traditional clarets to Pinot Grigio, and champagne by the glass or bottle is always available. Service is cheerful, brisk and totally in keeping with the friendly nature of a good English gastropub.
Keep in regular touch and get further details by means of their informative Website. Please note that the E-Mail Contact is for enquiries only, not for bookings.
English, Gastropub, Modern British
: 12:00 - 22:00 (last orders)
: 12:00 - 22:30 (last orders)
: 12:00 - 21:00 (last orders)
5-9 Wilmslow Road, Alderley Edge, SK9 7QL [Map]
£12.50 (2 courses), Mon - Fri
£12.50 (2 courses), Mon - Fri, pre 7 pm
(Avg Price is the average cost per person for two courses, coffee, half a bottle of house wine and tip/service)
REVIEWS OF Merlin, The
Karen (27 June 2011)
What a great find! The staff are friendly and efficient. The food is excellent - I had the Sunday lunch. The building is amazing. I would recommend The Merlin as a great place to eat after spending good money on bad food in many a place before. I will be visiting again for sure.
Bennett (28 February 2009)
I've been there on numerous occasions because it's got a great lively atmosphere and the food is good quality for the price. The bar area is great too for before or after your meal.
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More Info for Merlin, The
- Children welcome
- Air condition
- Groups allowed
- Outside seating
- Cover charge
Not included, 10% (optional) for 8 or more
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