The Hand and Flowers

Gold Award
££££
British, Gastropub

The Hand and Flowers
The Hand and Flowers
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COVID-19 Update for The Hand and Flowers

Updated on 02 Jul 2020

Reopening on 4 July

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

Location for The Hand and Flowers

126 West Street, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, SL7 2BP

01628 482277

Website

Opening Times

Mon-Sat 12N-2.30pm 5-10.30pm Sun 12N-3pm

Reviews of The Hand and Flowers

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25 Reviews 
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

J4sonb

Assaulted in the men’s bathroom
29 July 2019  

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. 

Food & Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

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.

Verity W

09 May 2017  
Possibly the best Sunday roast I have ever had! The staff were extremely accommodating and nothing was too much trouble. The decor was very much in the style of a countryside pub with wooden walls and open fires. The meal itself isn't as expensive as other 2 Michelin star restaurants but with drinks, the overall cost was quite expensive. Something to do on a special occasion and I would definitely go back!

darren E

05 May 2017  
Food,ambience and decor fabulous.

Richard R

04 May 2017  
The best pub lunch in the country.

Paul A

Not up to its reputation
19 January 2015  
We were lucky enough to get a Friday evening spot here and were full of anticipation given the demand for tables and all the adulatory publicity. To call the Hand and Flowers a pub with a restaurant is something of an exaggeration, and although there is a decent-sized bar, there is little doubt that the overwhelming majority of punters are there as diners. The dining room maintains the original period set-up, and the atmosphere is certainly relaxed, although this does not deter the staff from doing their utmost to provide proper restaurant service, which occasionally results in a feeling that they are slightly confused over their role. We were pleased to see that the menu paid homage to some traditional dishes, and our amuse-bouche was deep-fried whitebait with good old Marie Rose sauce. We decided that as there was no tasting menu we would go for different dishes so as to experience the cooking as fully as possible, and we started with a smooth and subtle duck liver parfait enlivened with port and madeira and good toast and orange chutney, and salt cod Scotch egg with deep-fried chorizo making a good contrast with the red pepper sauce. My main was an impressively presented osso bucco, the meat shredded and served inside the hollowed-out bone but chewy and thus disappointing despite its good taste. The osso bucco came with oversweet carrot, which been poached with sugar and star anis, and a generous slice of a brawn-like sausage. My wife chose partridge which she pronounced fine although possibly rather underdone for some people's taste, and this came with good black pudding purée, braised celery, Morello cherry ketchup and game pie. We felt that it would be good to have some potato and something green on the plate, and were therefore obliged to order sides, but we could not let the occasion pass without having some of the famous Hand and Flowers chips, with some sprout tops to accompany them. We were frankly disappointed to find that the chips qualified technically as chips because of the way they are cooked, but what we were served looked like and tasted like something akin to an extruded potato nugget and were not what we would call "proper" chips. Our desserts made a diverse pair - tonka bean panna cotta with chunks of honeycomb and rhubarb jelly providing an interesting contrast, and a giant, unadorned, dark-looking crème brulée with a very solid crust and a slug of bitter beer accompanying it. Given the variety of our dishes, we left the choice of wines to the wine waiter, and these turned out to be adequate, if on the expensive side.
Food & Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

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