The Hand and Flowers

British, Gastropub·
££££
·
Gold Award
·

SquareMeal Review of The Hand and Flowers

Gold Award

Tom Kerridge is currently doing for Marlow what Rick Stein did for Padstow and Heston Blumenthal for Bray: his name is everywhere, and his fingers are in an increasing number of local pies – including The Coach and Butcher’s Tap pubs up the road in the centre of town as well as The Shed, a private dining room where you have a chef and kitchen all to yourself.

And while he may have opened the swanky Kerridge’s Bar & Grill at the Corinthia Hotel London, The Hand remains the original and best expression of what Kerridge set out to do as a chef: open a proper pub that just happened to serve some really top-notch food.

“What’s not to love” exclaims one reader, and we’re not surprised when others wax lyrical about The Hand and Flowers: “fantastic and not too fussy”; “incredible food, so unique yet beautifully simple” – the plaudits just keep coming, with two Michelin stars shining at the top of the pile.

The pay-off for anyone lucky enough to bag a table is a rolling menu of Kerridge’s greatest hits and tricksy fresh-faced ideas with a seasonal smile – think lamb and haggis toast with chorizo mayo, whipped cheese and mint jelly, slow-cooked duck breast with apricot purée, morels and a Moroccan-style savoury tart or the fish du jour served with char-roasted alliums, cheese mash, avruga caviar and sauce ‘bonne femme’.

Main course prices of around £40 have the potential to take the shine off the feel-good factor, but a three-course set lunch for £29.50 is worth anyone’s day-trip to Marlow, while Sunday lunch includes fish and chips for £21 – as well as what one reader describes as “hands down the best roast I've ever had”.

This is a world away from your average gastropub fodder, and there are delicious surprises right to the very end: one reader loved the “mini ale” served with his dessert (a boozy chocolate and ale cake with salted caramel and muscovado ice cream). The only downside is the fact that you have to book “ages in advance”, but that’s small beer when the restaurant can deliver such quality, warmth and pleasure.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - Over £80
Cuisines
British, Gastropub
Ambience
Cosy, Fun, Lively, Traditional
Other Awards
SquareMeal UK Top 100, Two Michelin stars
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch, Sunday roast
People
Birthdays, Celebrations, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating

About The Hand and Flowers

There's no questioning Tom Kerridge's credentials as one of the UK's most recognisable chefs, but his journey onto our TVs, through cookbooks and as owner of multiple restaurants all starts with the magnificent, two Michelin star-wielding Hand and Flowers in Marlow. Opened in 2005, the Hand and Flowers won a Michelin star in its debut year, and added a second in 2012, becoming (and still holding the title of) the only pub in the UK to hold two Michelin stars.

As you might expect, two Michelin stars means you receive a certain level of service and food, but Tom and wife Beth have endeavoured to make sure that the Hand and Flowers retains all of its rustic charm. That means friendly service, comfortable, informal atmosphere and bold, unpretentious pub food, elevated with the best of the best seasonal ingredients. 

The a la carte menu is packed full of contemporary pub fare, taken to new heights with classical cooking technique and outstanding ingredients. Starters include duck liver parfait with orange chutney and toasted brioche, and glazed omelette of smoked haddock and Parmesan, before moving onto mains like duck breast with duck vol au vent, Yorkshire rhubarb, almonds and black pudding, Essex lamb bun with sweetbreads and salsa verde, and dry-aged beef ribeye with chips, sauce Bordelaise and bearnaise. Desserts include a warm Bramley apple and vanilla bakewell with tonka bean cremeux, milk toffee tart with grapefruit sorbet, and blackberry souffle with bay leaf sorbet and roasted walnut ice cream. 

The Hand and Flowers also offers a Sunday lunch menu that includes a variety of roasts, including beef, venison, duck, fish and pork belly. 


FAQs

Does The Hand and Flowers have a Michelin star?

The Hand and Flowers has two Michelin stars.

Helpful? 0

Does The Hand and Flowers have a dress code?

Please wear whatever you feel comfortable in - there is no set dress code.

Helpful? 0

Location for The Hand and Flowers

126 West Street, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, SL7 2BP

01628 482277

Website

Opening Times

Lunch
Mon 12:00-14:30
Tue 12:00-14:30
Wed 12:00-14:30
Thu 12:00-14:30
Fri 12:00-14:30
Sat 12:00-14:30
Sun 12:00-17:00
Dinner
Mon 18:30-21:15
Tue 18:30-21:15
Wed 18:30-21:15
Thu 18:30-21:15
Fri 18:30-21:15
Sat 18:30-21:15
Sun Closed

Reviews of The Hand and Flowers

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29 Reviews 
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

Anon

28 August 2020  
Food & Drink 0.5
Service 3
Atmosphere 0.5
Value 0.5
Overwhelmingly Disappointing

Mindful of the Covid-19 pandemic and in an effort to keep perspective at such a difficult time for the restaurant industry, I've taken a few days to gather my thoughts on our experience at The Hand & Flowers, hoping to avoid an overly critical, knee-jerk review following my overwhelming disappointment.

Firstly, bedrooms offsite for £325.00 per night? With no facilities, no room service (except for drinks) and a view of perhaps the best industrial bin selection I've ever seen, in addition to a car park and a huge air conditioning generators. No breakfast in bed, no papers and a balcony which doubles as an ice rink/death trap in the rain. If I could post a photo of the bruising all over my feet and legs following my fall out there, I would. 

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the food was uninspired, grossly over-priced and underwhelming. My lamb bun main was dry and almost grey, with my boyfriends fish also falling short. It's also worth noting that simply dried white bait is not an 'Amuse Bouche'. The bread and the butter were unbelievably delicious and the highlight of the meal. £285 in at this point (and considerably disappointed by what we'd eaten so far) we elected not to have pudding.

In addition to the lack lustre food, there was no somelier, no atmosphere, uninspired decor and loos the size of a small wardrobe. 

The one star I have given, is for Declan, who was attentive and courteous throughout. 

I could reel of many examples of restaurants serving better food, with better ambience and better service. I could also recommend many more hotels selling rooms at similar prices with all the trappings one would expect in a five star hotel. 

I am loathe to be so scathing but I could not think of one person within my family or friendship group who would enjoy the food or consider the experience good value for money. I am absolutely bemused by the scores of five star reviews. 

 

 

Anon

28 August 2020  
Food & Drink 0.5
Service 3
Atmosphere 0.5
Value 0.5
Overwhelmingly Disappointing

Mindful of the Covid-19 pandemic and in an effort to keep perspective at such a difficult time for the restaurant industry, I've taken a few days to gather my thoughts on our experience at The Hand & Flowers, hoping to avoid an overly critical, knee-jerk review following my overwhelming disappointment.

Firstly, bedrooms offsite for £325.00 per night? With no facilities, no room service (except for drinks) and a view of perhaps the best industrial bin selection I've ever seen, in addition to a car park and a huge air conditioning generators. No breakfast in bed, no papers and a balcony which doubles as an ice rink/death trap in the rain. If I could post a photo of the bruising all over my feet and legs following my fall out there, I would. 

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the food was uninspired, grossly over-priced and underwhelming. My lamb bun main was dry and almost grey, with my boyfriends fish also falling short. It's also worth noting that simply dried white bait is not an 'Amuse Bouche'. The bread and the butter were unbelievably delicious and the highlight of the meal. £285 in at this point (and considerably disappointed by what we'd eaten so far) we elected not to have pudding.

In addition to the lack lustre food, there was no somelier, no atmosphere, uninspired decor and loos the size of a small wardrobe. 

The one star I have given, is for Declan, who was attentive and courteous throughout. 

I could reel of many examples of restaurants serving better food, with better ambience and better service. I could also recommend many more hotels selling rooms at similar prices with all the trappings one would expect in a five star hotel. 

I am loathe to be so scathing but I could not think of one person within my family or friendship group who would enjoy the food or consider the experience good value for money. I am absolutely bemused by the scores of five star reviews. 

 

 

Sazzal

09 July 2020  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5
Fabulous

Stayed for husbands 50th birthday. Was absolutely amazing! Room was fabulous and spotlessly clean!!! Food, ambiance and being made so welcome by the lovely staff made our stay second to none. Due to the circumstances of Covid the marquee was decorated beautifully and we were made so welcome!! Would definitely recommend! Thanks to Tom and the team x  ??

Sazzal

09 July 2020  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5
Fabulous

Stayed for husbands 50th birthday. Was absolutely amazing! Room was fabulous and spotlessly clean!!! Food, ambiance and being made so welcome by the lovely staff made our stay second to none. Due to the circumstances of Covid the marquee was decorated beautifully and we were made so welcome!! Would definitely recommend! Thanks to Tom and the team x  ??

J4sonb

29 July 2019  
Food & Drink 5
Service 0.5
Atmosphere 0.5
Value 0.5
Assaulted in the men’s bathroom

After waiting over a year for this meal we had an appalling experience. Our much awaited evening was ruined after I was physically and verbally assaulted in the men’s bathroom shortly after arrival by another customer. Sadly the staff handled the situation extremely badly which ruined the evening before it had even begun. When attempting to report this experience to the duty manager a few days later we were met with an extremely snobbish and rather rude response from the manager directly with no offer of apology or compensation after spending over £400.

I asked if this could be escalated to a higher level or even Tom himself but we were informed that Tom was far too busy to get in touch and address matters such as this. We still await a response from them some 6 months later, I wanted to offer a chance for them to redeem this issue prior to leaving feedback. 

Jacqueline H

01 July 2019  
We had high expectations for this restaurant, but prices too high for what we got and the roast potatoes were like bullets! I would not recommend this restaurant.

samantha C

02 April 2019  
Still as good as ever.

samantha C

28 March 2018  
Impeccable service and outstanding food in a wonderful setting.

Stuart M

29 May 2017  
Phenomenal food and service only let down by having to books weekend table a year in advance.

Siri H

10 May 2017  
Great food, great service, lovely room and atmosphere.
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