The Oarsman is a contemporary bistro pub and wine bar in the heart of Marlow from restaurateurs and hospitality specialists Nigel Sutcliffe and James McLean. Both bring to the project an exceptional level of industry experience; Nigel previously worked with Heston Blumenthal at The Fat Duck Group and was managing director of The Crazy Bear Group, while James won Young Chef of the Year. They’ve now joined forces to re-launch British pub The Oarsman as a place to meet friends for a drink at the bar, enjoy a fantastic meal in the cosy restaurant or relax outdoors in its covered alfresco courtyard.
The décor has been kept traditional to evoke the feel of a classic British boozer, albeit with a slightly more upmarket edge. Look out for a large red brick fireplace, studded leather booth seating, hanging lamps and a rustic wooden bar in the centre of the space.
The kitchen is headed up by award-winning chef Scott Smith, who brings with him a wealth of experience at Michelin-starred restaurants across the UK, including Arbutus, Wild Honey and Sugar Boat in the Scottish town of Helensburgh. The menu features bistro-style, seasonal dishes served from the open kitchen for lunch and dinner, while a snacky small plate menu is available from the charcuterie and larder counter. Starters might include steak tartare with croutons and smoked egg yolk, Andalucian-style gazpacho and hand picked white crab, as well as courgette fritters with feta and mint. While mains include BBQ pork chop, warm radish, cream cheese and ‘nduja, alongside Bavette steak frites, Café de Paris butter and rocket, and battered haddock, chips and pickled onion.
Nigel’s knowledge of the wine industry has informed his approach to the wine list, which includes tried-and-tested favourites as well as more unusual bottles. There are more than 300 wines on the list from over 40 countries, all of which are farmed sustainably, most organically and a large chunk biodynamically with minimal intervention.