126 West Street, MARLOW, SL7 2BP
The Hand & Flowers may look from the outside like a cheery local with its whitewashed facade and hanging baskets, but unless you have been on the International Space Station for the last year or two, the name of its landlord, Tom Kerridge, should ring a bell. For the past decade or so, the pub has been turning out food that has garnered praise, headlines and a host of awards, and ever since his triumph on the BBC's Great British Menu in 2010, Kerridge has been a regular presence on the telly, in print and in a slew of cookbooks. Kerridge honed his craft in some of the premier kitchens of the London dining scene before striking out on his own, and here he offers the culmination of that experience, brought to bear on the pick of seasonal British ingredients. There's a satisfying lack of pretension all round and, given the outstanding food on offer, the place is uncannily relaxed and friendly. Look a little closer and you'll notice the attention to detail that has gone into making it look so humble - interesting artworks, precise table settings and the professionalism underlying the cheerfulness of the service team. The kitchen takes high quality ingredients as its starting point and produces dishes that are by turns straightforward and sophisticated. The lack of a pretentious tasting menu shows the direct and straight-talking nature of the place, with the à la carte menu supported by an amazingly good value no-choice set lunch option. The fine produce is not overworked, but neither is there any lack of invention and creativity. Take a starter of salt-baked swede and haggis tart, for example, which comes with crispy lamb, 'Chantilly de chèvre' and raw mushroom, or another starter that partners pavé and parfait of salmon with black apple jelly, confit lemon, Avruga caviar and garlic bread. Among main courses, loin of venison with boudin noir purée, root vegetables, ragout pie and cow puff delivers powerful and complex layers of flavour, while the fish of the day could be matched with a crab pancake, bouillabaisse sauce and calcot onions. Finish with an exemplary vanilla crème brûlée or a banana soufflé with coffee syrup and caramelised walnut ice cream. In keeping with pub tradition, there's a Sunday lunch menu, where treacle-cured Chateaubriand of Stokes Marsh Farm beef with Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and red wine sauce may prove to be the best you've ever had.
Tel: 01628 482277
Please quote 'The AA'.
Send an email
Dates closed: 24-26 Dec
Sunday lunch available.
Days closed for dinner: Sun, 1 Jan
Cooking type: British, French
Chef: Tom Kerridge
Number of seats: 54
Steps for wheelchair: 2
A La Carte Dinner Main Course from: £27.00
Prices are for guidance only. Please check when booking for current rates.