The landscape at Heyhouses Lane, St Annes, has certainly changed radically in the last few years.
Where Government buildings once stood, there are hundreds of new homes, a Booths supermarket, a plush residential care home – and The Water’s Edge, an inviting sight to passing drivers as well as local residents, although what water the name refers to remains a mystery for most of us.
The food-led pub, part of the Manchester-based Joseph Holt brewery chain, has been there for two and a half years now and has certainly made its presence felt among diners of all ages and we were impressed to see it busy when we called on a recent Thursday evening.
While many online reviews have praised the food and service, The Water’s Edge has not been without its criticism, with one particular ongoing niggle apparent among customers that drinks and food had to be ordered from separate tills.
We were delighted to find when we arrived for our family meal that that no longer applied, although we were slightly taken aback that it is still not possible to start a ‘tab’ by supplying a card and paying at the end of the visit, to allow for desserts, coffees and any extra drinks.
But the service was friendly and efficient once we had made our choices from an extensive range of options.
The carvery is a key feature of what are very large premises, but on our visit that area was quiet, with most of the diners tucking into dishes from a main menu which offers a wide array of starters, main meals, including steak choices, and sandwiches.
There are also some rare treats seldom seen elsewhere, such as ‘hanging kebabs’, presented vertically onto a plate, with an halloumi cheese option along with meats.
My two non-meat eating dining companions were certainly tempted by the cheese version but, after we had all chosen to share bean nachos to start (£7.75), they found much more to tempt their taste buds - and were joined by an extra vegetarian diner for the night when I found what I really fancied eating was no longer available after recent changes to the menu.
A few weeks before this visit, we called in The Water’s Edge for just a drink and perusing the menu while we were there, I spotted chilli con carne as well as vegetarian chilli options - and as we headed there to dine on a very cold evening, I thought the chilli con carne would be the ideal main course.
Sadly, however, it was no longer listed, so I had to turn to the veggie options – and to add to the frustration, the first of those I fancied, a Vietnamese veggie curry, was sold out.
So I opted for smoky bean chilli (£8.25) and very tasty it was, a generous blend of beans in a tomato-based sauce with just the right ‘kick’ on a chilly night and served in a metal dish, with rice, nachos and salad.
My wife chose a veggie burger (£7.95) which was a mammoth offering, with two non-meat patties in a bun with salad, served with a generous portion of chips, which would have defeated Desperate Dan, never mind Mrs D’s best efforts to polish it off.
For our daughter, the choice was a fish finger buttie from the sandwich menu, served with fries and salad. It was great value at £6.95 and declared a hit.
But the teen still had room to sample a dessert and was particularly enchanted by the eye-catching ice cream display which has been a key feature of the Water’s Edge since it opened.
From a wide choice of flavours, she opted for white chocolate and Malteser plus cookies and clotted cream – and at £1.95 for one scoop or £2.95 for two, that really was wonderful value.
With drinks, which I have to say we found a little expensive compared to the value food, our bill came to £47.80.