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When chef Tom Kerridge and his sculptor wife, Beth, took over a Marlow boozer back in 1995, they couldn’t have dreamed what a roller-coaster success story The Hand & Flowers would become. Along the way they’ve added eight bedrooms and become the first (and only) pub to win two Michelin stars, while Tom is now a TV celeb and bestselling author. Although this place is all about destination dining of the highest order (witness the “major downside” of 12-month waits for a weekend dinner table), at its heart is “high-quality, pub-style food”: think a “stunning” sausage and whole truffle ‘demi en croûte’ with port sauce – the poshest sausage roll imaginable. But there’s much more to it than that, particularly when you consider some of Tom’s signature specialities: pavé and parfait of salmon with black apple jelly, confit lemon and avruga caviar; the ever-popular slow-cooked duck breast with peas and duck-fat chips (a TV hit on Great British Menu 2010), and puds such as chocolate and ale cake with salted caramel and muscovado ice cream. Just add the warmest of welcomes from dependable, chatty and good-natured staff. As a “fantastic experience” which shows that “good cuisine can be done fuss free”, The Hand & Flowers richly deserves the BMW Square Meal Award for the Best UK Restaurant 2015.
Square Meal’s Best Restaurants in the UK 2015 is compiled using votes from our annual survey, last conducted in May and June 2015. Thousands of readers and bloggers took part and the results were moderated by the Square Meal editor and his nationwide team of professional reviewers. The survey does not ask for or include any restaurants in London. Click here for a full list of Square Meal’s Best Restaurants in the UK.
Whenever a restaurant has a sizable waiting list you seem to get one of two experiences; either it blows your mind and is worth the wait or you leave thinking that all the build up and anticipation was really not worth it. The Hand and Flowers refers to itself as a ‘pub restaurant with rooms’ and we had over a 3 month wait for a table and a chef, Tom Kerridge, renowned for cooking food with ‘big flavours’ (in other words, my favourite type of food) who has wowed on each TV appearance; things were stacking certainly stacking up to go one of two ways here...
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The Hand and Flowers can’t be a pub because it’s nobody’s local. Sure, it looks like a pub. It has low, uneven ceilings, and even lower beams – the type that require a sign of caution – and a few ale pumps standing to attention, pricked like a set of hare’s ears, ready to maintain the pubby frontage with every pull of a pint. But it isn’t a pub. It’s a high-end restaurant in boozy drag, one that’s bloody difficult to get into.It becomes clear on entry. A handsome extension houses the bar, which, topped with polished pewter, gleams against the exposed brickwork and glows like bread oven, its under lighting exhibiting...
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We headed over straight from work and wandered to Brixton Village Market for some food. As we were walking around we heard tunes booming from a small place so we had to take a look. It smelt delicious and as we saw other peoples food we had to eat there.The Joint was originally a pop-up, but Warren and Daniel now have permanent spots in Brixton Village Market and Marylebone. We started with the hot wings which come out tied up in a paper bag. These were bloody amazing! So juicy and the sauce had just the right amount of tang and nice n spicey, of course. Then we went for the Asian burger (slow cooked pulled...
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The final leg of my wonderful foodie birthday tour took me to the Hand & Flowers in Marlow, the only 2 starred ‘gastro-pub’ in the Michelin guide, and my first foray into dining above a 1 star level. I decided on the Hand and Flowers as my brother and sister-in-law had given me a £50 voucher for my 29th birthday and by the time I got round to making the reservation (March 2014) this was the first weekend that a dinner reservation was available.Despite being labelled a ‘pub’ this isn’t the type of place that you would go for a quick pint. It may have all the characteristics of a public house, but with an...
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