Aug 26 2014

The Hand and Flowers


The Hand and Flowers is the only pub in the United Kingdom that has 2 Michelin stars (awarded in 2011). It is located in Marlow and first opened in March 2005. It is owned by chefs Tom and Beth Kerridge and The Hand and Flowers is currently voted the number one UK restaurant by Restaurant Magazine. Needless to say all these awards have made it really hard to book and I booked a table at the Hand and Flowers in December 2013 for august 2014 and I could not even get a Saturday and Sunday and had to settle for a late lunch on Friday. The Hand and Flowers serves “unpretentious modern British flavours as well as rustic French dishes”.


Marlow is a very charming town and the Hand and Flowers is located in a small very charming house. They recently extended it and now it is bigger. There is a casual bar when you enter and as you go further in, the restaurant. The inside of the restaurant is casual, it is a pub after all and you can see yourself having a pint there instead of Michelin star food. Before we got our starters the waitress brought us some fried whitebait, bread, butter and salt and all of this was excellent. The fried whitebait was one of the best I have ever had, just an excellent execution of this dish. The starters were £12 on average and I ordered one of their signature dishes which they have had on the menu since they opened, “Glazed Omelette of Smoked Haddock and Parmesan”. They did say this was quite a heavy starter and good for people who were hungry, which I was. But this was almost too heavy for me and it was full of cheese and it was delicious but I could not finish the whole thing as I was a bit overwhelmed. Colm ordered the same starter. My boyfriend ordered “Crispy Pig’s Head with Spiced Date Puree Apple, Blackberry and Pancetta”, another starter which they encouraged you to order and said was one of their signature dishes. When you read on the menu “Crispy Pig’s Head” you sort of have an image in your head of what it would look like and the thing my boyfriend got did not resemble that image at all. He got a deep fried pig’s head meat that was served on all the other ingredients. Once again it was very strong in flavour and almost over flavoured my taste buds, but the meat was very soft. Kaye ordered “Potted Artichokes with Cured Pork, Summer Truffle, Trompette and Rye Cracker “which was the lightest of all the starters and she really enjoyed.


The mains were £30 on average. Colm chose a dish that had been part of the Great British Menu 2010 and which the waitresses recommended “Slow Cooked Duck Breast with Peas, Duck Fat Chips and Gravy”, and he said the duck was very well cooked and he liked this dish. My boyfriend could not chose whether to have the beef or chicken but the waitress pushed him to have the “Half Beer Roast Chicken, Romanesco, Mushroom Butter and Summer Truffle”, because she really sold the chicken. She said all the moisture had been sucked out of the chicken and then the beer was pressed into it and then the chicken was cooked and she said she tasted this chicken and she had tasted nothing like this before and this chicken was so much better than any other ones she had had. Needles to say I was absolutely fascinated about this chicken after this sort of a description and was very happy my boyfriend chose it. It did have a strange beer like taste to it which was very pleasant and it did have a much stronger flavour than chicken usually does. The waitress also brought to show us the big Romanesco vegetable before it was carved up and served on my boyfriend’s plate. I chose a dish called “Veal Ossobuco with Cucumber "A la Planca", Milano Salami, Pickled Garlic and New Potato Glaze” as I had a picture in my mind what veal ossobuco would be like and I quite fancied that. Once again the  Hand and Flowers did their own twist on this dish and it was nothing like I imagined it to be. I was given a hollow half of a bone filled with meet that was served on some Milano salami and other things. Just like my omelette dish this was extremely strong in flavour. The veal had a lot of taste to it and I personally did not think they should have added that salami to it, it was just a bit too much. Kaye ordered “Fillet of Sea Bass with Roast Tomato Fondue, Peppers and Aubergine "Provençal", Thyme salt and French Olive Oil” and she said her fish was very well cooked and good.


We also ordered some sides, the Hand and Flowers Chips, Pomme Boulangère, which is sort of like gratin potatoes, Buttered Hispi cabbage  and Bucksum Leaves with English dressing. The sides were good but a lot of them had too much butter for my liking. I did very much like the Hand and Flowers Chips though. However at this point when I was finishing eating my main course and eating these sides I just felt extremely full and overwhelmed. I wanted to lie down. This food felt so heavy and unusual for me, I could not almost take it. We did however order two desserts  of the "Hand and Flowers Chocolate and Ale Cake with Salted Caramel and Muscovado Ice Cream", which I vaguely remember to be quite tasty with a slight ale flavour but once again heavy. 


I did have a very memorable meal at the Hand and Flowers. They serve very delicious and interesting (and super heavy) food, much more than just pub food, but not sure it is quite 2 Michelin stars.


Price for 4 people with alcohol: 345.43

Location: Marlow

Date: 26/ 08/ 14

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Maija rated: 



The Hand and Flowers
126 West Street SL7 2BP
United Kingdom
The Hand and Flowers Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 4.5