This one is a bit different to my regular Food Fridays, I mean, no pizza or pancakes are to be seen… I went somewhere fancy for once.
After a year long wait (we booked December before last), just before Christmas my family and I finally ate at Tom Kerridge’s Two Michelin starred restaurant ‘The Hand and Flowers‘, in Marlow, England.
We were very excited. Unfortunately, as with a lot of high expectations, they are likely to be dashed; it’s a lovely restaurant, in gorgeous surroundings but at the end of the day, it is still a pub. If you look at it from the perspective of ‘a pub with amazing food’ then you won’t be let down.
Sadly, I think we expected more.
I suppose it’s because it is a restaurant that has two michelin stars, thus has had people visit that know a lot more than me to deem it worthy of the accolade; I know my opinion shouldn’t be taken as gospel in relation to it. I’m not trying to disagree with anyone. I’m just writing about my experience. Because it was kind of meh.
Firstly, our table was really difficult to access. It was slotted into a space that it 100 percent wasn’t big enough for. Hence, not a comfortable entrance (a lot of sliding and squashing was required). Secondly, as someone that doesn’t eat pork or beef, I only had a small portion of the menu to choose from. And all in all, the menu is quite small. Thirdly, it’s quite expensive in comparison to your average pub lunch. I suppose due to the fact that, it isn’t your average pub lunch…
I’ve been quite negative, so let me find some positives. For one, it’s a great introduction to a la carte food; I think anyone and everyone would be comfortable in the environment. It’s quite unassuming, and dare I say, cute. Nevertheless, the service is still excellent (they really can’t do enough for you). Plus although it is expensive, it’s affordable in comparison to other restaurants with the same awards. I mean, it was booked A YEAR in advance – a hell of a lot of people must like it.
I had ‘Half Beer Roast Chicken with Caramelised Cauliflower, Sweet Garlic Purée and Oak Gravy and Mushroom Crunch’ for my main, and ‘Hand & Flowers Chocolate and Ale Cake with Salted Caramel and Muscovado Ice Cream’ for dessert. I’ve probably been spoilt in the past, but it wasn’t the best food I’ve ever had. It was definitely better than I could ever make, but that doesn’t actually say that much.
My main advise (for every restaurant booking) would be not to book A YEAR in advance. Unless you know you’re going to be in the area once only in your life… In a year OR you don’t have the ability to get excited about things. It’s too easy to get your hopes up and set yourself unreal expectations.
It is a busy place, but if you’re interested in going, you can put yourself down on a waiting list and they’ll give you a call whenever they have a cancellation. Otherwise, you can buy one of Mr Kerridge’s cook books (which truly are fantastic) and give it a go yourself at home.