126 West Street, MARLOW, SL7 2BP
There are former pubs turned into restaurants. There are pubs turning out good food. There are plenty of pubs that have closed down and become executive homes. And then there is The Hand & Flowers, a place which keeps to the spirit of what a pub should be, and turns out food that is staggeringly good and sometimes alluringly simple. Tom Kerridge's star has risen, with a TV show to call his own and a reputation firmly made and well earned. In under a decade Tom and Beth Kerridge have taken a jobbing tavern and turned into a destination address, but, perhaps best of all, it still feels relaxed, natural, and geared to good food and good company, which is surely what it's all about. There are bare-boarded floors and rustic furniture, with tables left bare but set with good quality cutlery and glassware. The 'posher' elements of this place are seemingly slipped in unnoticed, so it all feels unpretentious, when in fact there's a lot going on here to deliver a high-end experience in a seemingly easy-going environment. The service team play their part, cheerful and friendly, but entirely on the ball. Tom worked in some top-end kitchens and learned a thing or two about working the ingredients to maximise flavour, but also when to leave well alone. His food has a genuine British flavour and there's smoking, pickling, salt-curing, blowtorching and all sorts going down in the kitchen. That blowtorch comes into its own in a first course which sees Scottish scallops seared to perfection and served with beef and mead bouillon, while another starter has delicious orange chutney to cut through the richness of duck and foie gras parfait (plus some toasted brioche). Main-course slow-cooked duck comes with duck fat chips and Savoy cabbage, or go for Wiltshire venison with Hand & Flowers carrots and game ragout. The produce throughout is first class, often local and always seasonal. There's no slacking at the dessert stage, with glazed apple tart with burnt milk ice cream, or pear soufflé with caraway crumble. The wine list is also on song, offering a good choice by the glass and there are bedrooms, too, in the form of four cottage suites a short stroll from the pub.
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.