Food - The Hand and Flowers

September 05, 2014

We'd wanted to visit to the Hand and Flowers in Marlow, Buckinghamshire for a while now but the long waiting list had put us off. Book 9 months in advance just for a lunch, a year for dinner? How good would it be anyway? But after hearing so many good reviews I took the plunge and made a surprise booking for us to go for lunch on Ben's birthday a couple of weeks ago. It was well worth the wait. So before I go any further, get on the phone or online now and book in for whenever you can next get a table because we had some of the best food we've ever tasted. 

The pub is owned by Tom Kerridge, it's famous for being the first pub to ever be awarded two michelin stars. We've eaten at a few michelin starred restaurants over the past few years, the food has always been good but the atmosphere is always slightly unnerving. This is why we loved the Hand and Flowers so much, you get amazing amazing food but in a relaxed country pub. The service is still 5* but there's none of that unnecessary arrogance. 

Inside the pub, there are cosy beams and intimate tables with a tapered candle. We were lucky to be seated in a booth, some of the main tables looked quite close together. 

The menu is the same for lunch and dinner so you're not missing out on anything if you go for lunch. They do have a special set lunch menu which is very reasonable at £15 for two courses or £19.50 for three but it only has one choice on and given that we won't be visiting again for some time we didn't want our options to be restricted. While your starters are being cooked, you get served complimentary white bait and breads with dipping mayonnaise and butter. So so delicious we wolfed this down!

Ben ordered the Potato risotto for his starter with baked potato stock, new season garlic, cucamelon and red chicory. Cucamelons are everywhere at the moment I love them. The flavours were incredible and it looked so pretty.

My starter wasn't quite so attractive looking but oh my god it was one of the tastiest things I've ever eaten. Similar to an 'Arnold Bennett' it was a glazed omelette with smoked haddock and parmesan. It's probably an insult to describe it like those bacon wrapped cheese things you get at Christmas but that's what it reminded me of {in a good way!}. Imagine smokey melty cheese and times the taste and flavour by 100 and you'll get close to this starter.

The mains were also faultless, Ben had the special award winning fish and chips with mushy peas and tartare sauce - the michelin starred way. The chips were triple cooked and some of the best Ben's eaten. 

I loved my fillet of Seabass which came with a roasted tomato fondue, peppers and a caramelised aubergine, 'Provencale'. 

The real star of the show will always be dessert for me and my sweet tooth. I can't decide which one I loved more, Ben's huge blueberry souffle with parma violet ice cream and lemon verbena syrup...

... Or my delicate burnt honey panna cotta with old english spiced meringue, blackberries and mead sorbet. The flavours worked so incredibly well, it was heavenly and so beautifully presented.

I can't recommend this restaurant highly enough and bought vouchers for both of our parents to visit. But book as soon as you can! Marlow itself is a lovely town, due a blog post of it's own soon. If it had been sunny on the day we visited we probably would have gone for a walk by the river and looked around the shops but in typical bank holiday fashion it poured with rain all day so we filled our tummies and went home for a snooze instead before birthday celebrations round two with friends and family.

R <3 xx

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  1. I have booked to go here after our wedding as a surprise for my fiance. He has always wanted to go so I will be giving him the confirmation email as part of his wedding day present from me.
    Looks delicious.
    Really enjoying your posts!


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