The Golden Ball Inn Ironbridge has been on my ‘to visit’ list since they re-opened their doors in December 2022. We were looking for somewhere dog and child friendly, so they fitted the bill perfectly. They regularly promote their doggy Sunday dinners. These support Hillbrae Dog’s Home and they are taking donations until the end of May too. Drop in if you have any dog food, blankets, toys or other accessories going spare.
The Grade II listed former coaching inn is quirky and comfortable. Much like Ironbridge itself! The wooden beamed ceilings, dark wood bar and open fire mean that this is an attractive place to visit at any time. There is a decent amount of outdoor seating available too. The beer gardens look like they are ready for their summer refresh at the moment, so do mind out for the massive thistles! Sadly you kind of have to stand up and peer to take in the full beauty of the view, but the historic building is pleasant enough.
We were welcomed warmly by the team and orders quickly taken. I kicked off with a pint of Purity’s Mad Goose pale which was served in good condition from the handpull. The pub was bustling early in the afternoon so there was a really nice atmosphere.
We dined as a four, and our guests had ordered separately so their meals came first. Fish and chips, and crispy chilli beef. Both dishes were declared delicious, and I snuck a bit of the chilli beef myself so can confirm. The fish was huge, with a fantastically crispy batter. The beef was just the right side of dry and crispy, served with prawn crackers and rice. You can choose chips if you prefer. Brilliant dishes and priced very much in line with the other pubs of the area.
Sadly, as we had ordered separately, our dishes didn’t come out to the table until our dining partners were practically finished. And unfortunately, neither of them really hit the mark. The rump steak was served rare, as requested. However, I don’t think the pan had been hot enough as it was still cold, chewy and unpleasant. Maybe the quality of the beef wasn’t quite up to scratch but there were vast amounts of raw sinew and gristle. I’ll spare you the picture I took of that pile of questionable meat, but I did take one!
Happily, we had the dogs with us so it didn’t go to waste. But not ideal for a £17 main. The bar is set high in Shropshire by The Walnut, whose £12 flat iron steak easily outstrips this dish by a country mile, in terms of cooking and quality.
The Golden Ball burger was up next – my dish – and this had all the makings of something really amazing. Handmade steak patties, with bacon and cheese. The dripping chips and baconnaise on the side were brilliant. Really wonderful. However, both burger patties and the bacon were burnt. Not overdone, straight burnt. So everything tasted of that. We didn’t receive a check back and as our guests were already done eating and we were on limited time I didn’t really have the heart to send it back so I munched on through. Obviously, the burger was dry because it was so cremated.
Lots to love about this pub. Friendly staff, a wonderfully quirky building, and lots of events going on to make it worth following them on socials to see what’s happening. The menu was far too hit and miss for me to be inclined to eat there again in the near future. You pays your money, you take your chances. I think they probably do have a potentially great chef – they just need to be significantly more consistent. It was audible that customers around us were very positive about their meals. I hope to head back on a sunnier day for a nice pint of cask in the beer garden though.
🐐 1 Newbridge Rd, Ironbridge, Telford, United Kingdom, TF8 7BA
We visited of our own volition and paid for our meals in full.