Wizard – Alderley Edge, Cheshire

“Can The Wizard still cast a magic spell?………………”

Well not this time I’m afraid. After a great start near farcical service quashed the magic. The Flame and I decided to turn back the clock and head east to once again walk the edge. It was a super bank holiday Monday, the sun was shining. The Flame made the call, “how about walking along Alderley Edge and seeing how The Wizard is, we’ve not been for years”. It was a great shout.

The Edge
The Edge

The Wizard was the place to be a few years back. Posh, Becks, Giggsy, they were all part of the scene and The Wizard was up there serving the stars with high end, pub grub and just above normal prices! It was good stuff though. It was the place we went for special occasions. The place you went to push the boat out.

Ugly dog
Ugly dog

We ventured in after a glorious to the edge and back (15 mins each way). The old place hadn’t changed. Outside the paintwork was creaking a bit. I’m sure it’ll get a lick soon. Inside, it was the same as it was the last time. Stone floors, low ceilings and heritage paint providing the backdrop for fox hunting prints and ugly pot dog ornaments. It’s quaint with a capital Q. Our sprightly young waitress swept us with gusto to our prearranged table. The reserved note telling all that they could sit here until 1.45, but woe betide you stay any longer as the Cooktwit was due in at two! A nice touch! Our table was set in the corner by the window. A super spot. The said employee, recited without stumble the three ales on offer. A Lion Brewery ale was soon in place.

Simple menu
Simple menu

We ordered up from the simple, single sheet menu. In good time our starters arrived. The Flame opted for the smoked salmon, cucumber, avocado and herb stack with a tomato salsa (£6.50). I had the flatbreads and houmous for a fiver. They were both superb. In fairness the salmon stack in particular was the finest starter I’ve tasted in a long time. Fresh, zingy and bursting with flavour. The houmous with warm bread oozing with cumin scented oil almost equally pleasing. We were on a roll. The old days flooding back.

Salmon & houmous. Glorious
Salmon & houmous. Glorious

Next up the mains. I ordered the smoked haddock, cod, king prawn and pea risotto with a crispy bit of squid (a heftyish £13.95). On first impression I had it looking a little pallid and uninspiring on the plate. A flash of superfluous greenery at the top edge providing the only colour. First taste lacked seasoning. The remote seasoning canisters (provided on each table) soon had that remedied though. From then on it was actually rather good. Plenty of fish, it was most agreeable. The Flames chicken club sandwich with chorizo and thrice cut chips (£7.95) arrived on white rather than the granary bread as ordered. It was quickly changed. The Flame rated the ensemble with a satisfying grin. I managed a chip dipped in a glorious jalapeno mayo which was delicious.

Seafood risotto, Chicken Club
Seafood risotto, Chicken Club

We then watched a table of eight have their table cleared, having dined after us. From then on we waited for what seemed an eternity to have our table cleared. We then asked for the dessert menu. We waited and then waited some more. Our waitress after prompting finally emerged admitting she had forgotten. Fair enough.

I ordered the panacotta with honeycomb and fruit (£5.95). Having watched Mr Rayner on Masterchef and noted his need for the ‘wobble’ when judging a panacotta I was ready and waiting. Mine arrived upside down in a cup! I couldn’t tell whether it wobbled or not. My substantial vintage, stainless steel spoon stood up in it though, once I had managed to penetrate the surface. It was not light and fluffy. Indeed once the first couple of spoonful’s (mixed with the fruit and textured honeycomb) had evaporated I was left with a cloying mound. A disappointing end really.

The solid pannacotta
The solid pannacotta

We asked for the bill, and then asked for it again, and again. It arrived at almost double what it should have been. Another table had been added to it. When the real bill arrived (£47) we asked to pay by credit card. We waited for the machine, and asked for it again. The service had deteriorated significantly. Watching our waitress chatting with other staff, cleaning cutlery while we waited was a touch disappointing. It dampened the experience. Spare a thought for the couple next to us though. They got their mains before their starters! And they had waited far longer than us!

image

It’s a shame really, it’s a fine space set in stunning surroundings, the food was generally very good and in fairness looking at some of the Sunday roasts coming out they look a very decent bet too. Perhaps we were unlucky with the service. It didn’t seem overly busy. Maybe the staff were new, lacked experience or maybe too few of them? I don’t suppose we’ll ever know.

If you like living on the edge, it might be worth giving it a risk.

The Wizard
Macclesfield Road
Nether Alderley
Cheshire
SK10 4UB
Telephone 01625 584 000
Email wizard@ainscoughs.co.uk

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