The Royal George, Shifnal

Rating **** James Shaw and family play the waiting game for their dessert, but it was worth it.

The Royal George, Shifnal
The Royal George, Shifnal

Rating **** James Shaw and family play the waiting game for their dessert, but it was worth it.

Whenever I walk into a pub or restaurant, one of the first things I look for is cleanliness.

Of course, plentiful tables and baby chairs are important, but there is nothing more off-putting than grubby seats and a sticky bar.

There was nothing like that to worry about when we walked into the Royal George in Shifnal. In fact, I can state right now that I have never, ever, been in such a clean pub.

Such was the standard of cleanliness, that we almost felt guilty for disturbing the tables and rustling the tissues. But the cleaner deserves a real pat on the back - I spent much of my visit looking for grubby marks, but found none.

It was a really great start to our meal, and the food did little to change our collective mood.

The menu has taken a slight step away from the usual pub fare, offering meals such as pork shank in apple and cider sauce, alongside classics such as fish and chips. Indeed, we took at least 20 minutes to choose our main courses.

I eventually went for the steak and ale pie, while Claire plumped for the beef Sunday lunch.

The wait for our main courses wasn't too bad, but as the meal went on, this became something of a bugbear.

My steak and ale pie was a real triumph, with soft, yet solid pastry and chunky pieces of steak in a deeply flavoursome sauce. Perhaps the only fault I could find was that there could have been a few more pieces of meat.

It came with the usual accompaniments of chips and vegetables, although they once again received little attention, such was the focus demanded by my pie.

Claire has always been a bit of a sucker for a genuinely nice Sunday lunch and her main course did not disappoint. Her plate arrived loaded with the sort of treats that mother usually knocks together with aplomb. Plenty of crispy roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings and vegetables.

Of course, the real centrepiece of Claire's main course was the beef - thick, plentiful and with very little fat. She was hugely impressed .

Up to this point, our visit had been a real joy and, to be honest, I was on the verge of awarding five stars. Unfortunately, it went a little bit downhill from this point.

The staff on duty had been attentive and made us feel extremely welcome. But it seemed as if someone had thrown a switch. Granted, there were only a few people serving and the pub was busy, but it seemed as if we had suddenly been forgotten about.

The wait for our desserts went on, and on, and on . . . In the end, they took over 30 minutes to arrive.

Bearing in mind Louis had finished his sausage and mash some 20 minutes earlier, our patience had become strained. Nevertheless, we were happy enough with our desserts.

I had the chocolate indulgence sundae, while Claire had the millionaire's shortbread. Both were huge and arrived to a warm welcome.

My dish was loaded with chocolate ice cream, chocolate pieces, chocolate sauce . . . you get the idea. Overall, it was a dangerously sweet way to end my meal.

Claire's shortbread was a classic version of the recipe - lots of soft shortbread, chocolate and toffee.

At £1.60 per portion, it was certainly fantastic value.

We would have enjoyed our desserts much more, but the wait had taken the shine off our meal.

So would we visit again? That has to be a yes - the sheer value of our meals was a real bonus and we paid just £25 for two courses, drinks and a main course for Louis.

But with a wait of over 30 minutes for one course, we will check how many staff are on duty first.

ADDRESS

The Royal George, 45 High St, Shifnal TF11 8BL

Tel: 01952 462807

MENU SAMPLE

STARTERS

Prawn cocktail (£3.35); Breaded mushrooms (£3.10)

MAINS

Pork shank in apple and cider and sauce (£6.95); Fish and chips (£4.85)

DESSERTS

Rhubarb crumble (£2.80); Melt in the middle chocolate pudding (£3)

ATMOSPHERE

A bit quiet in the dining room, although that soon livened as our meal progressed

SERVICE

Very good at first, but by the end of the meal, we felt as if we had been forgotten about

DISABLED FACILITIES

All of the pub is on one floor and there are disabled toilets

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