Phone +44 (0)1628 482277
Type of Cuisine Modern British / French
Chef Tom Kerridge
Price Range £££££
Lunch 12.00 - 2.30pm (3.30pm Sun)
Dinner 6.30 - 10.00pm Mon-Sat
Make no mistake, this old-fashioned, half-timbered pub in food-conscious Marlow called The Hand & Flowers is no ordinary boozer. Yes, it still has hanging baskets, skull-cracking beams, real ale and a few lunch specials for the drinkers, but that's where its 'country pub' credentials peter out. The place may have an infectiously informal, bight-and-breezy atmosphere, but the food is serious.
Tom Kerridge used to cook at Adlards in Norwich, which gives a clue to what is going on here. He moved south with his wife Beth to find more flexibility and independence: it hasn't taken long for word to get round – indeed Michelin came calling and awarded him a new star without any hesitation and the second followed in 2011.
His style could be summed up as unpretentious modern British with a few peasant-style French touches. As you might expect, there is often a great deal of intricacy and painstaking work involved: line-caught sea bass is served with Puy lentils, roast garlic and frogs' legs, for example. Meat receives similar treatment: braised belly of Middle White pork is paired with cauliflower purée and cockle vinaigrette, while beetroot purée adds a vivid flourish to roast breast of Suffolk duck.
Desserts tend to be plainer offerings like fig tart or strawberry cheesecake with strawberry ice cream and poached strawberries. A simple bar menu is available at lunchtime and there's a traditional roast on Sunday; well-considered wines at attractive prices complete the deal.
They now have four stunning cottage suites just yards from the pub. Unique luxurious rooms that have a wonderful and sumptuous style.
Also featured in: AA Guide, Good Food Guide, Michelin Guide, Harden's.
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