As a birthday treat I took my Mum/Daughter to the Hand and Flowers in Marlow on Thursday, its our second visit and as ever the food/service was excellent and then again given the two Michelin stars and cost of the meal you’d kind of expect that. It was a great experience and a wonderful meal. Its really worthwhile splashing out every now and then for something really amazing, personally I’d rather forgo 5-6 cheaper/mediocre dining out experiences and put the money towards something really special/memorable like this.
The price isn’t cheap and given we are supposedly in a recession there seems no shortage of customers for this type of dining experience they were completely full with 2 sittings and as we were finishing up the next wave of customers were piling up waiting to be seated. The Hand and Flowers is amazingly popular. Lazy person that I am then I rang up in the early part of Feb to try and book a table around my birthday on 9th March only to find the earliest table I could get on any night of any day was 28th March and since then they’ve only got more booked up and its now June.
Back to the food & drink, we had some cocktails (Manhattan) with some appetisers, deep fried Whitebait with Mary Rose sauce, white sourdough & wholemeal soda bread. Unfortunatly the lighting is rather low key the Hand & Flowers and whilst its great for the ambience its not so hot for taking pictures and I do feel a little self concious taking pictures but hey I need some pictures for the blog!
There is a huge choice of starters and we all chose something different and had a little taster of each others to see.
From left to right we have the Smoked Mackerel Scotch egg with wild garlic (me), Parsley soup with smoked eel and Blowtorched Scottish scallops with warm roast chicken bouillon.
The last time we went I had the famous duck dish from the Great British menu and it was amazingly good and now the age old restaurant dilemma to go for that again or try something different, its always a risk trying something new, will you wish you had stayed with what you like? I pretty much always try something new, otherwise you’ll just never know and never discover amazing new things you like.
So this time I went for the Loin of Costwold Venison, King Oyster Mushroom “Farci”, Blowtorched Gem Lettuce and Salt Baked Beetroot and I wasn’t disappointed. I wasn’t so hopeful for the blowtorched lettuce but actually it was really flavoursome as was the whole dish, with a side helping of Hand & Flowers chips. Mum had the Lemon Sole and Elen has the duck dish again (not so adventurous but it is nice). I’m still none the wiser for what a Farci is and Google hasn’t provided much in the way of enlightement but it was lovely some great flavours and textures in there and my only minor let down was the oyster mushroom was a little tough in places.
Looking at those dishes you may think, geez they’re small portions but believe me I was really uncomfortably full at the end of the meal, probably not helped by the 2nd portion of bread we accepted.
Pudding was a much easier choice, last time I went for the chocolate cake and it was nice but very rich and too filling and really wished I’d had the Passion Fruit souffle as that was beyond amazing in terms of lightness and taste. Sadly that isn’t on the menu anymore and it was a Banana souffle instead with Gingerbread custard and yoghurt ice cream, it was excellent and the Passion Fruit souffle still has the edge on it.
Now the downside here is that we were all so looking forwards to the souffle that nobody remembered to take any photos until we’d pretty much finished so instead there are some shots of the empty plates.
I was totally intrigued by the drinks menu in that there was a “Builders Tea”, served in a mug and could not resist it despite my mother saying “you can’t order that!”, yes I can, I have no shame.
It was a plain old normal cup of tea, just as described, lovely, very enjoyable and not even that expensive.
We all had a great time. The staff were very attentive and combined with the wonderful food made for a very memorable evening. Congratulations and thanks to Tom Kerridge and his team for a job well done.