Hand and Flowers, Marlow

Great British Menu has always been one of my favourite TV shows, watching some of the country’s top chefs cook off against each other, al with a healthy dose of banter, irony and chef humour. Not to mention, it was through GBM that I came to know about a little pub in the picturesque village of Marlow called  Hand and Flowers, and its chef Tom Kerridge, at that point being one of the only pub-chefs to hold a Michelin star, not to mention, one of the only chefs to have won GBM two years running, and going on, this year, to be the only chef to be given 2 Michelin stars for a pub. High flying indeed for chef Kerridge!

Being a sleepy little village with a one-platform station, we ended up having to walk to the restaurant – which wasn’t entirely a bad thing, sauntering through the high street on a glorious and sunny Sunday afternoon. Being an old pub, one has to constantly duck to avoid being knocked out by the low wood beams, but aside this little hazard, the dining room itself is bathed in sunshine, and has a very comforting, relaxed feel to it, and it wasn’t hard to finally decide our route for the afternoons journey.

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Bread and Fish
Omelette
Parsley soup

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Things started off rather well with some lovely bread and deep-fried white bait with Marie-rose sauce. My Glazed smoked haddock and parmesan omelette was packed with luscious chunks of smoked haddock, but with nothing else to go with it, the dish got rather dull and boring half way through and I ended up leaving it as, well, it was all a bit same-same not different.M’s Parsley soup, smoked eel, bacon and parmesan tortellini  was, however, remarkable and a multitude of happy flavours all swimming about in the cute bowl. A random observation that chanced upon my eyes was that there were two dishes on the starters that had foie gras, and both of them had an orange garnish – one had orange chutney, one had orange oil.

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Lamb bun
Potatoes
Pistachio cake

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Our main course of Essex lamb bun, sweetbreads and salsa verde had all the looks about it and was a piece of lamb rack, enclosed by lamb shoulder and sweetbread, cabbage and pastry. Once again, a slight let down as the flavours decided to stay flat all the way through, as did the texture of the entire dish and I guess what irked me most was mushy sweetbreads. There is nothing worse than mushy, spongy sweetbreads. The Salt baked potatoes, however, were exceptional – in appearance, execution and experience.

I haven’t a clue as to why I chose the dessert I did, but maybe because it sounded funky, and came across as being light. I ignored the warning in my head about having a melon dessert in winter and went for the Warm pisatchio cake, melon and marzipan. The cake was soaked in syrup, making it a bit too sticky and cloyingly sweet for my liking – the pistachio caramel  on top didn’t aid matters either. As for the melon sorbet and garnish – bad, bad, bad idea – they were just colourful squares containing water and the sorbet did nothing for the cake or the dish either.

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Just before ordering our desserts, our waitress told us, very plainly, that we could have the souffle if we wanted, but as it would take 15 minutes to cook, it wasn’t advisable as we only had our table for an hour and 45 minutes, and at this point, there was 15 minutes remaining on our clock, and I hadn’t been informed of this little clause when making the booking, so the both of us were a little taken aback and, frankly, annoyed at being rushed through our desserts and coffee (which was messily made too!).

Personally, there was nothing in our lunch that made us feel that the restaurant was worthy of its recent accolade and nor was it worth the trip from London. Oh well!

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Overall Experience: 6
Food: 6
Recommend you go: 6
Website
Hand & Flowers on Urbanspoon
Square Meal

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