The attractive Jolly Coopers is one of Epsom’s oldest treasures. First impressions are sure to delight; the friendly team welcomes you into an impressive bar and airy dining room, with a beer garden for those who prefer to eat and drink outside.
To begin, choose from the eclectic list of small plates. We shared wonderful lemon and black pepper fish goujons; these were light and fluffy and came with lashings of lime mayo. We also sampled flavoursome pork belly bites beautifully seasoned with sumac, soy, nigella and chilli. I could have happily worked my way through the entire list. For example, applewood macaroni with thyme and truffle oil sounds both unusual and tempting, and there’s also a spicy Scotch egg, avocado, mango and tomato salad – and plenty more.
The appetising main menu showcases the best of fresh, local ingredients and is supplemented by daily specials, from which I chose salmon Florentine. This was served with oregano-seasoned chips – an unexpected Mediterranean treat. My companion tried pork belly stuffed with black pudding and served with creamy mash, gravy and crackling. To finish, we enjoyed homemade ice cream from a wide array of desserts.
The food is exceptional by all accounts, but the team is also serious about its impressive choice of drinks. Alongside the diners, there were customers enjoying a drink in the bar – perhaps unsurprisingly since there is a microbrewery on the premises producing Fuzzchat craft beer, of which the team is rightly proud. With at least one of their own beers on tap at any time, along with six regular options, you’ll be able to sample something different on every visit. When brewer Ray is around, you’re always invited to have a look around the brewery and have a chat with him about the beer and what it’s like to be Epsom’s only brewer. The wine list is not to be scoffed at, with a varied selection of popular and lesser-known options. The Jolly Coopers is also a magnet for gin-lovers. You’re invited to assemble your own preferred combination from an extensive range of craft gins, interesting tonics and imaginative garnishes.
An evening at The Jolly Coopers is something special. Service is extremely good – the smartly uniformed team is professional and eager to please. The lucky people of Epsom have this exciting and enterprising venue on their doorstep, but it’s worth seeking out if you’re from further afield.