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Tuesday, 22 October 2013

50 B4 50-The Hand & Flowers

On Tuesday my wife took me for a belated Birthday present, lunch at The Hand & Flowers in Marlow.
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This is now our third visit to this wonderful 2 Michelin Star pub, run by the patron chef & owner, and our favourite chef, Tom Kerridge.
Tom was of course the headline show at Milford on Sea Food Week 2012. Whilst well known in culinary circles then, he has now become a familiar face on many TV cookery programmes, and he currently has his own series on Monday night BBC TV called ‘Tom Kerridge’s Proper Pub Food’.
Anyone who met Tom at Food Week will know that he is one of life’s good guys, with a great sense of humour and wicked Laugh. He is also a big lad just turned 40. A year or so ago he must have been 30 stone plus, and it is clear he has lost around 10 stone. Good on you Tom, but don’t forget, no-one loves a skinny chef!
When we arrived, some serious building work was taking place and the plans showed a new bar and dining area being installed. The work did not affect the restaurant, and when we went in it was as packed as ever.  Our waitress told us they were serving 84 people over two sittings on this Tuesday lunchtime!

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The staff were like well-trained bees as they buzzed efficiently around the dining room. Our table was in a nice quiet corner, and we were soon enjoying a drink and studying the mouth-watering menu.
It was possible to have a set 3 course lunch for just £19.50. However, my wife was paying, so I was straight to the a la’ carte!
Choices made, we were then served with some complimentary Whitebait with homemade mayonnaise, fresh breads, mixed pepper, salt and butter.
My wife then noticed that Chris Evans was sitting on the table next to us with some mates. Fortunately he did not recognise me and I didn’t have to find an excuse to not appear on The One Show. (Although I wouldn’t have minded a ride in his fleet of super cars.) I have to say he seemed a nice genuine chap.
For starters we went for things we had never tried before, and the adventure was worth it as I enjoyed; Demi “En Croute” of Whole Baby Truffle with Foie Gras and Port, my wife had; Crispy Pig’s Head with Rhubarb, Pancetta and Greek Cress.

For main course my wife had; Corn Fed Baby Chicken with Hops, Ale and Hay, Thyme Roast Celeriac and Summer Truffle, whilst I was delighted to taste (again!) one of Tom's signature dishes; Beer Battered Fish with Triple Cooked Duck Fat Chips, Home Made Tatare Sauce and a Pea Puree, which is the best side dish I can remember.

The Noble Brewery lager was still going down well as the dessert menu arrived. The Hand & Flowers certainly know how to do puddings!  On a previous visit with friends that should remain nameless, but they won't, it was Jon & Stacey. Things got very messy as the wine flowed a bit too much. So much so, that not only did we have Dessert wines, we all also shared all of the eight desserts on the menu.
Today was much more refined, and I loved the Pear Soufflé with Caramelised White Chocolate Ice Cream and pear puree.

On the fireplace I noticed Tom’s new book ‘Tom Kerridge’s Proper Pub Food’ was on sale, and in a flash I secretly arranged for a copy to be signed by Tom to my wife. She was thrilled when this was bought to our table, and better still she did not twig I had added it to the bill she was paying!
As we sat in glorious satisfaction my wife said; ‘If I ever leave you, I am going to move in with Tom’. As I thought this through I felt a little hollow, mainly because, I had already decided that if my wife ever left me, I was going to move in with Tom!
Tom Kerridge's Proper Pub Food
BBC2 Monday's 8.30pm
Tom's book on Amazon click here

The Hand & Flowers
126 West Street, Marlow SL7 2BP
01628 482277
Michelin Stars Collected So Far: 25

3 Michelin Star
London | Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester -
Berkshire-Bray | The Waterside Inn -

2 Michelin Star
London | Hibiscus -
London | Pied a Terre -
Buckinghamshire-Marlow | Hand & Flowers - (*3 Times!)
France | Georges V Hotel, Paris -

1 Michelin Star
London | L’Autre Pied -
London | L’Escargot -
London | The Savoy Grill -
London | Veeraswamy -
London | Quilon -
Hampshire | Terrace Restaurant (Montague Arms) -
Hampshire | Vetiver (Chewton Glen Hotel) -
*To read the review on any of the above restaurants, put 'restaurant name' in this blog's search box.

No Michelin Stars, but restaurants visited since July 2013 that are worth a mention:
Milford on Sea | Verveine Fishmarket Restaurant-
Amazing fish restaurant, creative dishes and flavours. A Michelin Star is surely only a matter of time.

London | Franco's -
Smart Italian restaurant. Truffles abound and lasagne is excellent.

Milford on Sea | La Perle -
Charming French bistro with classic dishes authenticly served, delightful desserts, good value and friendly service.

Mudeford | The Jetty -
Great restaurant in a spectacular waterside location on Christchurch Harbour. Top quality experience in the extensive menu, ingredients and service.

Yarmouth, IoW | The George -
Fine fresh crevettes & lobster dishes with delightful beachside dining on sunny days.
London | Dishoom -
Described as a 'Bombay Café in Covent Garden. Completely different Indian dining, unexpected menu serving tasty spicy tapas style dishes.
London | J Sheeky Oyster Bar -
Excellent fish & seafood restaurant. Voted 3rd in Zagat ' Best Seafood Restaurants in London' .

1 comment:

  1. Hand & Flowers sounds fantastic, very high on my wish list!