The White Hart is one of Ironbridge’s oldest Inns and enjoys idyllic views over the River Severn and the historic Iron Bridge from its superb location on the Ironbridge Waterfront.
After having undergone a top to toe refurbishment The White Hart has recently re-opened, the work was managed by Alex Nicoll who formerly developed the run down pub back in 2004 and 10 years on has had the opportunity to bring it back up to date, it now operates as a café bar by day and bistro bar at night.
There is a whole new team on-board, both front of house and in the kitchen, including experienced local Head Chef Katie Bradley who has previously worked at the Mytton & Mermaid and Lion & Pheasant in Shrewsbury.
If the weather is good and you feel like eating outdoors The White Hart has a fantastic courtyard, which has also benefitted from the refurbishment, it overlooks the waterfront, which is perfect for an alfresco dining experience.
We decided to sit in the courtyard to relax in the last of the day’s sunshine and enjoy a glass of wine while we looked over the new menu; then as the sun disappeared we headed into the dining room as our starters were being served.
Fleur chose the Crispy Ham Terrine served with a Parsley Purée & Sauce Gribiche – the pressed ham terrine was golden brown on the top and moist and tender on the inside, there was a really nice salty sweetness to the shredded ham and the purée and sauce added great flavour to the dish, Fleur said hers was a great choice, one of the best starters she had ever had.
I tried the pan-seared scallops with a Crab & Fennel Ceviche and Lettuce Gazpacho. The scallops were cooked perfectly, the meat was moist and the tops and bottoms had a slight caramelisation, to contrast with the warm scallops the chilled Gazpacho had a minty zest which soaked into the fresh crab meat. The combination of cold and warm was a really nice way of serving scallops, another good starter!
During the short break as we waited for the main courses, we had a chat with other diners about the changes made and everybody agreed that that it had really enhanced the dining experience and that they had all thoroughly enjoyed the food.
Our main courses arrived; I had ordered the Slow Roasted Belly Pork served with parmentier potato, black pudding, baby onions and wild garlic. This was a great choice, a generous portion of wonderfully tasty slow roasted pork belly was perfectly tender and fell apart easily and was topped with an indulgent slice of crackling, the roasted parmentier potatoes were golden brown with a slightly crispy shell and a fluffy inner. A good helping of crumbled quality black pudding and baby onions were served around the plate with the potatoes and a rich tasty sauce.
Fleur’s choice was the Roast Rump of Lamb, Cauliflower Cous Cous and Spiced Samosa, served with a lentil purée and yogurt sauce. The two cuts of succulent Lamb were served perfectly pink on a bed of wilted spinach along with a spicy samosa, cauliflower cous cous and a light lentil purée – there was an amazing array of textures and flavours which Fleur soon devoured.
We were asked if we would like to see the desserts menu – well it would be rude not to, so we had a quick look and soon chose something that took our fancy. I opted for one of my favourites, the Vanilla Panacotta, which was served with strawberry compote and vanilla cookies. The panacotta was luxuriously smooth and creamy and the slightly sharp compote was a perfect contrast, the vanilla cookies added an extra texture against the smoothness of the creamy panacotta.
Fleur had chosen the Orange and Almond Cake, a delicate slice of moist orange and almond sponge served with salty sweet pistachios and lemon custard.
During the daytime a lunch menu is available between 12-2.30pm with lighter options including salads, sandwiches, soups, fishcakes, Shropshire fidget pie and much more. There are also teas, coffees and a selection of cakes and treats on offer throughout the day from 10am. The evening menu changes weekly with the addition of some new dishes and they are open for dinner from 6:00pm every night. Sunday lunch is between 12-4pm with the option of a Sunday roast. There is a range of children’s meals for just £5.
There is still some work being carried out to the function room upstairs and it is expected to be ready early July. The function room is perfect for small parties and it even has its own bar, it has amazing views across the river.
If you fancy making a night of it in Ironbridge then The White Hart also has 5 en-suite rooms available from £65 including a delicious breakfast.
There are lots of reasons to visit our local town of Ironbridge with its beautiful views, historic sites, cycle and walking routes, unique independent shops, but one definitely not to be missed is lunch or dinner at The White Hart.
by Nik & Fleur Abel