126 West Street
Tel: 01628 482277
Gluten free: Just ask
Parking: Own car park
Loos: Above average
I am a very lucky lady…. The Hand & Flowers has been on my wish list for several years so I was thrilled when my sons & daughter in laws took me and their father there for dinner last week to celebrate my very big b’day! It is the first pub to receive two stars in The Michelin Guide, its also the holder of four AA rosettes and currently has been voted number one UK restaurant by Restaurant Magazine….. so many accolades!
As we arrived early in Marlow the 6 of us went for a drink to Tom Kerridge’s latest acquisition, The Coach. It’s not far from The Hand & Flowers, very much a pub so you are welcome to just have a drink. The food looked interesting and they operate a no booking policy, very different to The Hand & Flowers. Apparently our table there was booked about 6 months ago and I’ve just checked on line…. no tables available on Friday & Saturday nights until Jan 2016!!!
We arrived at opening time 6.30pm and started with drinks in the bar. We were booked for 6.45 and had to vacate our table by 9.0 but at no time did we feel rushed by the friendly and welcoming staff. As soon as you walk in you feel completely relaxed, the atmosphere is charming, the low lighting creating a warming glow over the rustic surroundings. No white table cloths here, just candles and fresh flowers on the tables, delightfully informal.
Once seated the waiter brings you an unusual and substantial amuse bouche…. a complimentary dish of crispy whitebait served in a newspaper cone with a marie rose sauce, a basket of white soda bread, wholemeal bread, butter and with 2 pinch pots of salt & pepper to use to season the unsalted butter. My tip… go easy on the bread, of course you are hungry but leave plenty of room for the delights to follow!
Our delicious starters: Sausage and Whole Truffle Demi “En Croûte” with Port Sauce, Crispy Pig’s Head with Spiced Date Puree, Apple, Plum and Pancetta, Glazed Omelette of Smoked Haddock and Parmesan and Roast English Onion Tart with Étuvé Alliums, Smoked Butter and Salt Cured Pork.
Our magnificent mains: 3 of us chose the dish that was a winner on The Great British Menu, Slow Cooked Duck Breast with Savoy Cabbage, Duck Fat Chips and Gravy and 3 chose Fillet of Stokes Marsh Farm Beef with Hand and Flowers Chips and Béarnaise Sauce, to which we added a couple of sides, Buttered Brussel Tops and Curly Kale with Crispy Ham Hock….. gourmet heaven!
Yes we did manage some puds: Apple Custard Slice with Bramley Sorbet, Warm Pistachio Sponge Cake with Melon Sorbet and Marzipan, Sweet Malt Gateau with Malted Milk Ice Cream, Yeast Tuile and Crème Fraîche, Hand & Flowers Chocolate and Ale Cake with Salted Caramel and Muscovado Ice Cream and the most amazing Bitter Orange Soufflé with Sweet Toast Crumb, Cardamon Ice Cream and Citrus Syrup.
Wow! Obviously we knew the standard of the food was going to be superb but it surpassed all expectations, every dish was a triumph and I advise all foodies to sample Tom Kerridge’s creations, better get booking!
It is expensive but not really for a restaurant of this calibre. It deserves 5/5 for value for money for the quality of the food and the whole experience. What is very impressive is that they, as a 2 Michelin Star establishment, offer a set 3 course lunch for £19.50! In your interests we LWL are always banging on to restaurants to offer a set lunch menu.. I am so delighted that in future I will be able to say “Well if The Hand & Flowers can do it”????
Check their web site for the full menus and more details. We highly recommend, the whole experience was marvellous and all true foodies wanting a very special treat will love it. The best b’day present ever!
Ladies Who Lunch Scoring:The Hand and Flowers
Cost: £85 a head, includes 2 bottles of wine, drinks & tip
5/5 + Quality of food
5/5 Variety of menu
5/5 Staff and service
5/5 Ambiance and décor
5/5 Value for money
25/25 Total yummy factor. Review CJ
Ladies Who Lunch: score key
The higher the “Yummy” factor, the better the food and service.
The higher the number of £ signs the more expensive. (Roughly one £ sign = £5 per head).
5/5 Cannot be improved upon
4/5 Very good
If you visit, please tell them that Ladies Who Lunch in Hampshire sent you!