Last weekend, I was in Shrewsbury visiting a friend and by the end of my visit, it had me purring like a cat (I’ll get to why I was purring later). When it
Last weekend, I was in Shrewsbury visiting a friend and by the end of my visit, it had me purring like a cat (I’ll get to why I was purring later). When it comes to visiting friends I’ve not seen for a while or going countryside, there’s only two words on my mind. And that is: pub food. Somehow my brain immediately identifies the country with – not just the calming and beautiful landscape – pub grub. It doesn’t help that I probably think about food more than sex or shoes or clothes in the day. My whole nom nom obsession is simply exacerbated.
On the Saturday, we visited the first iron made structure ever constructed – the Ironbridge. The weather wasn’t too bad in the day but by the time we’d got there after a thorough walkabout through the Victorian town Blists Hill, the sky was just miserable. It was grey, it was freezing cold, the winds were so strong it was a real challenge to walk in a straight line and the rain was all pissy and furry – the type that was so thin and fine it soaked right through to your bones I bet. You couldn’t escape this sort of rain or you could die trying, really. Thankfully we had a bit of relief from the rain when we stopped at this lovely, comforting pub for lunch. It was one that appeared most welcoming to us (also because our car was parked very conveniently in their driveway) and called The Malthouse, beckoning us with these luscious, seductive interiors.
If you’ve seen the first picture, you’ve probably already gotten a general idea of what this was like and why I say it provided us our much sought-after escape from the outside icky weather. Think lush interiors, like really lush, bordering on decadent. Velvety surroundings and a boudoir-ish ambience, Victorian style furniture with animal print or flocked upholstery and lots of red candles and carpeting. Sounds tacky and a bit cheap? On a sunny day when I’m happy, dry and well-fed I might think just that. When I’m a sodding drowned rat, shoulders aching from hunching against the wind and ankles so cold they’d literally failed the rest of my body and stiffened into ice blocks, I think this was like coming home to a warm hearth and a plate of hot food after a long trek in the woods. The Malthouse was seriously like the light at the end of the tunnel for us. And I was nearly moved to tears when they sat us down at our table, all friendly and smiley and attentive to their windswept customers who’d arrived before the dinner crowd.
Like a cat, perfectly comfy in her skin, and luxuriously stretching its limbs, I did a nice big stretch after chucking aside my wet brolly and removing my coat still icy from the wind. Then, I took another look around and I think my face just lit up and glowed from being warm and dry and sat down. I was utterly comforted by the fact that we were about to be fed. And I simply couldn’t help being appreciative of the quirky bits in this pub house like, the day’s menu written on long panels of chalkboard, pictures of hearts framed and stuck on the walls and oh, this bit I thought was so cool – black chandeliers with opaque black beads dangling very sexily from the bulbs. I know I know…that’s not to everyone taste and it’s so flashy contemporary it kind of hurts your eyeballs. But I could have just thrown myself into the interiors, sinking into it like a waterbed with a sort of post-erh-hum satisfaction, so sue me.
If I’ve made you quite jealous of our experience, then I’ve been quite successful. If I haven’t, don’t worry I won’t try again. Instead, I’ll change my tactic and move on to Plan B. The food.
S’s mum had a nice smoked salmon baguette and the rest of us ordered some hot food – dramatic pause here – some hot proper pub food. It was real nice to see the menu being separated out into starters, pub food, mains, soups, salads, desserts (I think that was how it was for the last 3). What I’m trying to stress is the separate category the humble pub fare was given and that really brought a smile to us. I think we all privately reminisced the cheap student pub food from our undergrad years (which ended only just last year) and anyway, I think everyone has a special place in their heart and stomach for the simple yet very much loved pub grub. We’ve all had good pub food, and bad pub food. Even if at that point of time it was a real torture to swallow that plate of pure grease and cheap butter, I can only say that general entity known as ‘pub food’ is always quite fondly thought of. Of course there wasn’t much to worry about here because the food was excellent!
My food was the last to arrive. Although the last, it was definitely not the least by miles! The picture of it might explain why. It was huge! The portion of chips was generous and the battered fish about the length of my forearm. My lunch partners were a little worried and all ready to ask for doggy bag to take home the leftovers.
I think my reaction to that was a big ‘errr…there’s no need’. I ate it all. It didn’t defeat me.
Am I disgusting or just a real trooper with a bottomless pit for a stomach? The fish was fab and so fresh. And thankfully it wasn’t just all made up of batter. The chips were nicely seasoned and real yum with a good bite to it. I quite dislike mushy peas. I think the look of it and the texture just puts me off completely so I never ask for it. If it’s on my plate, I push it away as far from my chips and fish as possible (and I really ain’t that kind of fussy eater. Just mushy peas, paté and black pudding I can’t stand). I don’t know if it was the red candle induced happiness or boudoir ambience that had gone to my head, I ate mushy peas.
Yes I really did. And I liked it. I normally don’t. But this one was good. And it had whole peas in it too. Maybe that’s what made it worked. I didn’t have it all, thank goodness. But I had some. And that’s progress. The Malthouse was a real success and I take the mushy peas as proof of that.
Even though the rain had let up and we were getting sleepy from being so well-fed, we were sad to leave and drive away from Ironbridge. Good times though. Great weekend.
Tel.: 01952 433712
10 Responses to “The Malthouse in Ironbridge”
March 5th, at 10:51 pm
Oh man, those bangers and mash look absolutely delightful. Yum.
Laura @ Hungry and FrozenLaura @ Hungry and Frozen Says:
March 6th, at 5:01 am
That fish!! So enormous. Everything looks gorgeous. I think it would definitely be perfect for a cold, rainy day. I live in Wellington. I know that rain that you speak of 🙂 your writing always makes me want pub food!
Sarah, Maison CupcakeSarah, Maison Cupcake Says:
March 6th, at 8:25 am
Streuth, that fish is a whopper!! Looks like a good find, I will have to seek it out if I go sightseeing around there this summer.
The Cooking NinjaThe Cooking Ninja Says:
March 6th, at 3:08 pm
The place looks gorgeous! I hv to visit it next time I’m in London.
March 8th, at 2:47 am
Holy smokes! All that looks so amazing. ahh.
Marc @ NoRecipesMarc @ NoRecipes Says:
March 8th, at 4:42 am
Nice job polishing off those fish and chips, I guess the chef took the name literally and used the whole fish.
Girl JapanGirl Japan Says:
March 8th, at 4:52 am
WOW, just look at the decor in that place, so freak’n fabulous. You dine at the best places girl…
Girl JapanGirl Japan Says:
March 8th, at 4:53 am
Hey Diva girl… just wanted to let you know I uploaded your link.. sorry it took me a while.
March 9th, at 12:18 am
Bottomless pit for a stomach – you and me both! =) It was so nice seeing you again today xxx
March 9th, at 8:55 am
Girl Japan: Hello dear! Aw thank you! 🙂 I’ll have to hop over to see for myself. Sending you much love.
Mowie: Very nice it was! We have to meet up more. It’s so much fun and wasn’t Sketch just seriously decadent and cool? 😛