In the seventies, cool intellectual student types didn’t waste their time listening to the bubble gum top ten hits of the day, like Abba or The Sweet. The ‘cutting edge’ music was progressive rock, superstar bands who played interminably long and complex ( and quite boring ) stuff that only ever appeared on albums. These albums contained titles like”The Revealing Science of God” and “Total Mass Retain” and were often based on some work by an obscure German philosopher. The covers of these albums were often adorned by wondrous, artistic flights of fantasy suggesting “New Worlds”….Not the sort of thing that would appeal to a 17 year old Boots shop assistant from Waterlooville.
We made our own foray into a New World of eating out on Saturday, prompted by the Marple lock down ( The main road out at Dan Bank is still blocked at night until later this month ) to try somewhere different. The Edge restaurant has been just off our line of peripheral vision ever since we moved into the area in 2005 and now seemed to be a good time to give it a go. A new innovation , a 3D review follows, with The Edge being given not one but two reviews ( albeit from opposite sides of a table for two )
The Album cover Inside
What has a restaurant in Marple to do with seventies progressive rock? All you need is lateral thinking ( and perhaps a little Moroccan red, the album cover to roll on and a copy of Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha ) One of the most famous progressive rock bands was Yes who put out an album called Close to The Edge. The inside cover of this album uses a colour palette which accurately reflects that of The Edge’s dining room. The seventies theme was extended by the choice of background music to our meal. “Blockbuster” by the Sweet is somehow not what you expect for “Fine Dining” , even in the seventies. Why not follow that up with some Abba or Tom Jones?
The OH’s meal was not great, to start with a trio of rather strange fish cakes complemented by chilli sauce at the volcanic edge of subtlety, followed by a fillet steak of possibly doubtful provenance with some odd shaped chips and a miserly undressed salad of leaves, chopped red pepper ( always a bad sign ) and cucumber. My own repast , complete with a wobbly luke warm doorknob passing itself off as a cheese souffle is more fully described below. We drank a 2010 Running Duck Shiraz from South Africa which was very fairly priced at £14.95. We were only allowed glasses of tap water as the waiter felt that a jug would crowd the table. ( Not if that side salad was involved! )
The Album cover outside
First disappointment, on entering the restaurant and opting for going directly to our table instead of having a drink at the bar, was being escorted up a narrow, garret-like stairway. When we got to the top we were greeted with the strong smell of stale cooking oil and a view of the broom cupboard, door open, complete with mop and bucket.
Second disapointment, the dining room. I’m not sure the turquoise blue walls, brown wood panelling finished off with matching turquoise skirting boards and ‘busy’ patterned beige carpet are suitable furnishings for a restaurant in 2011, ditto the music circa 1970s … The Sweet, Abba.
The menu read well, what I could read in the gloom of three overhead pendant lights, but the food that arrived was our third disappointment. It wasn’t the worst food we’ve ever paid money for, just poor in parts and mediocre at best. GLH’s starter of ‘twice cooked cheese souffle’ he described as stodgy and eggy. His main course was described as monkfish wrapped in pancetta with risotto. What arrived was a mediocre risotto, not very well seasoned and a miserable looking piece of fish with one piece of bacon on top. The dish was poor and the fish looked like it had been cooked from frozen.
Not wanting to linger and waste any more of a precious Saturday evening, we didn’t bother with desserts and coffee, paid our bill and came away feeling peeved that we could have given our money to a more deserving establishment.
Are we Close to the Edge ? Perhaps No.