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The Derby Arms, Epsom Downs

The Derby Arms pub has an enviable location directly opposite the Queens stand of Epsom racecourse.

The recent refurbishment has given the Derby Arms a well needed touch of colour and sophistication.  The design team have hit the spot by creating a feeling of modernity without compromising the true horse racing essence of this countryside gastro pub.

The bright and stylish new bar area

I’ve visited the Derby Arms before and I’m pleased to say the food and service has improved from the already high standard. The manager explained that they’ve invested in both the kitchen and staff to give customers a better experience.

We were seated in a beautiful alcove of the new dining area overlooking the downs.

Pan-fried prawns with sweet chilli and ginger sauce

To start I opted for the pan-fried tiger prawns with sweet chilli and ginger sauce. They really did taste as good as they look in the photograph above – a lot like lobster meat! Perfectly pink on the outside and the meat inside was white and opaque.  Spicy, fresh and zingy, some of the best tiger prawns I’ve eaten for ages!

Pan-fried scallops served with green beans and tomato and red onion salsa

My husband’s pan-fried scallops were plump and springy.  The mild acidity of the tomatoes and red onion salad was an inspired pairing with the sweet briny flavour of scallops.  The presentation of both starters was impressive.

Roast rump of lamb with all the trimmings

I opted for the traditional roast – well one of us had to(!) seeing it was Sunday. I chose the roast lamb. It came complete with all the trimmings, goose fat roasties, greens, honey roasted carrots, a huge yorkshire pud and lashings of gravy.

The meat was tender and cooked medium rare just as I ordered.  Roast butternut squash was a perfect pairing for the lamb and tasted delicious with the rich hearty gravy.

Roasted winter vegetable tart

Ross chose the roasted winter vegetable tart which looked fabulous and was a great veggie option for eating out.  Filled with butternut squash, beetroot and a walnut and stilton crumb it was really tasty.  Accompanied with a portion of parmesan and rosemary sweet potato fries, he didn’t feel short-changed by not ordering the roast.

Strawberries and frozen yogurt

I don’t know how either of us had room but the dessert menu was just too good not to sample a pudding. I chose the lighter option of strawberries and frozen yogurt (200 calories or under) – the perfect summer dessert!

Bramley apple & blackberry shortbread crumble with custard

Even though I enjoyed my strawberries and frozen yogurt I did have pudding envy when I tried my husband’s Bramley apple & blackberry shortbread crumble with custard. Crunchy, tart and delicious, a yummy dessert for a lazy Sunday.

The manager explained that a big part of the refurbishment has been focused on the outside of the Derby Arms.  A beautiful new blue pagoda now stands in the pub garden and looks set to be a big hit over the summer.

Alfresco dining

Alfresco dining with table service will be available outside. They’ve given their staff iPhones to send the orders straight to the kitchen so they can spend more time chatting with customers.

On sunny days there will be BBQ’s out on the patio, an outside Peroni bar is coming for the whole summer and special events such as pasta and cocktail making evenings are in the calendar.

The new look Derby Arms

The layout of the pub has been improved too. People no longer have to walk through the dining area to get to the garden  It has better access for dog walkers too. A very important consideration for dog lovers like us!

A new menu is coming at the end of April with lighter options for the summer. The drinks choices are also being refreshed with new cocktails featuring.

With so much hard work gone into the refurb and their focus on outside dining, I’m sure the Derby Arms will become our go to summer pub as the warm evenings stretch out.