It’s rare to find a proper freehold pub these days, one that is not dictated to or restricted by its brewery’s rules and prices, however the White Hart in Shifnal certainly stands out from the crowd. Owned by a young couple Adam and Jodie, the White Hart holds a lovely story for them both and they certainly know how to pull in the crowd with their range of drinks and delicious lunch time menu.
The White Hart was previously owned for 23 years, whom Adam worked for once a week as a barman for many years, eventually taking the reins himself 3 years ago, its also the venue where he met Jodie’s father for the first time. Already being experienced with the pub certainly lent its hand to a smooth transition and take over, with Adam and Jodie already going on to win many awards, including Telford pub of the year for two years running.
When my colleague Debbie and I entered one lunchtime in December we were greeted with such a warm welcome, not just with the fires roaring but the staff, décor and even the regulars, with a gentleman politely allowing us to jump the queue with a ‘ladies first’. This is a proper pub with traditional values, we instantly felt at home. The island bar is the home of the pub and contains a wider variety of alcohol than most good off licenses. Adam proudly told us he stocks over 50 gins, around 20 as standard and rotates 30 plus at anytime so there is always something new to try. He is also very proud of his whisky collection with over 25 on offer, at least 10 rums and a good wine selection, what is there not to love.
However, the heart of this pub is its selection of 9 real ales that are always on tap and keeps the regulars coming in on a daily basis. It was a lovely atmosphere to be part of and as we took a seat by the fire, we started looking through the food menu. There was everything you would expect to see on an honest homecooked pub menu, steak and ale pie with a puff pastry lid, ‘harty’ brunch, scampi, gammon, steak, chilli, shepherds pie and much more including a create your own burger, halloumi burger, sandwiches, paninis and jacket potatoes. A great selection for all tastes and appetites, although we were here to try something else they have to offer – The burger of the moment!
Having seen several posts on Instagram and Facebook of deliciously piled high burgers I had wanted to visit The White Hart for some time. As we were visiting just before Christmas the current burger was the ‘Festive One’, although Adam did talk us through other burgers he has created in the past and could offer one of these to us if we fancied it and he had the right ingredients. I had already been sold by the festive burger whilst Debbie was tempted by the ’Big Blue Ben’ burger!
Arriving looking superb and just like I’d seen in the pictures, we couldn’t wait to get stuck in. My festive burger was a toasted brioche bun containing festive slaw, handmade beef burger, wensleydale cheese with cranberries, bacon, deep-fried camembert and a cranberry and port sauce. It really was a feast; the burger was deliciously meaty, and the cheeses and cranberry sauce just gave a total taste bud sensation especially with the deep-fried camembert. Served with skin on fries, I can honestly say it lived up to expectations and well worth the visit.
On the other side of the table was Debbie and her Big Blue Ben; a toasted ciabatta, mixed leaves, blue cheese dressing, handmade burger, crispy bacon, melted Shropshire blue cheese and a caramelised onion chutney. If you like blue cheese, this is definitely the burger for you, oozing with flavour from the cheese and the burger with the onion chutney pulling it all together perfectly. They certainly know how to create a burger and what foods compliment each other. Both burgers were fantastic, even if you took the sauces and extras away the burger itself was very tasty. Adam told us about other burger creations he had come up with, the Chilli Chicken Cheese, the Mississippi smoke stack and the Dirty Deep South, they all sounded fantastic, and as they are all cooked to order you can change it up a bit. You can follow them on Instagram and Facebook to see new creations coming in 2019.
Food is served Monday – Friday 12noon – 2pm and 12noon – 3pm on a Saturday, although throughout the day fresh cobs, pork pies and scotch eggs are available and all locally sourced too from Hewitt’s Butchers in Albrighton (previously Walter Smiths). Live acoustic music is on once a month on a Sunday and always acoustic from a budding musician.
The White Hart really is a proper pub, good food, great ales and real values. If I lived closer, I’d certainly be there daily! Make sure you warm your winter with a trip to the White Hart and find out what is Adam’s burger of the moment is or simply sample some proper honest pub grub and a pint!
The White Hart
Tel: 01952 461161
Facebook: The White Hart, Shifnal
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