The Jolly Gardeners is a long-standing Victorian pub that was most recently a German-themed operation. In 2021, it was given a new lease of life when five childhood friends took over, transforming it into a modern gastropub, but without eliminating the traditional feel.
Inside, the large, spacious room is anchored by a standalone bar in the center, with a pub feel on one side, and then a slightly more formal dining area on the other. The space boasts plenty of natural light thanks to large windows, while it has held on to its heritage via Victorian marble fireplaces and smart, art-deco bathrooms. Out the front, seating wraps around the pub and there is also a cosy garden at the back complete with wooden benches.
While The Jolly Gardeners might be traditional in feel, it’s menu is anything but; this is still pub grub, but it’s the elevated, contemporary kind that Londoners have come to expect from trendy boozers. The menu changes regularly and consists of sharing small plates, followed by a few large ones you can keep to yourself. On our visit, we were most impressed by the lamb scrumpets - an adult take on chicken nuggets, which saw intensely flavoured meat rolled in breadcrumbs and served with an earthy black garlic dip. We also loved the crunchy, lightly spicy samphire and green onion bhaji, served alongside a refreshing mango chutney.
The large plates section (burgers, schnitzel and a veggie option) is perhaps a little less imaginative, but our burger was very good - a double beef patty topped with just the right amount of melted cheese and served with crisp, golden fries.
We skipped pudding but options include the likes of Eton mess, while those looking for post-prandial drinks can instead peruse The Jolly Gardeners ever-evolving wine list or range of local beers.
Plenty of London pubs harp on about being ‘neighbourhood’ operations, but with its charming backstory, friendly staff and better-than-expected menu, The Jolly Gardeners truly feels like a local gem - get down there before the secret is out.