Sunday 12 September 2010

The Derby Arms, Epsom Downs, Surrey

A whitewashed and heavily-refurbished Victorian inn standing isolated on the edge of Epsom Downs near the racecourse, The Derby Arms is a very refined pub with a predictable racing theme. But the celebration of racehorses is retrained and just about every furnishing and fitting in this unusually-polished watering hole is the epitome of quality and taste. In the meticulously-decorated bar, for example, the smart leather sofas are padded out with plump embroidered cushions, while white circular stone tabletops rest on ornate cast-iron legs. There is also a restaurant area with striped high-backed chairs and large, striking prints of racehorses and their trainers. Behind the bar are laid-back, but helpful, young blokes, while the prosperous clientele seem to be a mix of old and new money. There is an extensive and reasonably-priced menu. But if you just want a snack, you can get a small bowl of  fat chips, topped with a big dollop of mayo, for just £2.50. The drinks are also competitively-priced, with a pint of rich and refreshing Aspall cider costing about £3.50. The Derby Arms is posh, but not too pretentious. 8/10