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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Tom Kerridge | Hand and Flowers | Review

Tom Kerridge Hand and Flowers Dairy Free Dessert

Two Michelin Stars, Four AA Rosettes, Three time winner of Best Gastro Pub. Could this restaurant be any more highly recommended? With Tom Kerridge as the owner, there's no wonder there's a 12 month waiting list to get a table!

As seen on Master Chef, Great British Menu and now this year's Bake Off, Kerridge has his fingers in many pies; with the Hand and Flowers, his pride and joy in his hometown, he still visits and even cooks there regularly. Tucked away in a small place called Marlow, near High Wycombe, this highly commended gastro pub serves up exquisite dishes to an exceptionally high standard and can set you back around £70 - £80 per head.

Tom Kerridge Hand and Flowers

Tom Kerridge Hand and Flowers

Our table of 6 was booked for the afternoon around 2pm. Arriving by taxi (mainly so we could drink), we were ushered to the bar for a pre-meal drink as our table wasn't quite ready yet. Compensated with fancy cider and some pork puffs (like a mixture between prawn crackers and pork scratchings), we poured over the drinks menu to see what we'd have with our meals. A quick glance outside saw Tom sitting with another rather famous chef (although his name now escapes me!). As we went for my father-in-law's 60th, we asked a waitress if she could arrange a quick photograph with the two of them, as Tom was his favourite chef. Unfortunately, by the time he had finished with his friends, we had been seated and we didn't spot him again. They since got a photo, whilst at the Good Food show, so don't worry!

As I am dairy intolerant, I rang ahead a week or so before to ask what options there were for me. The staff were extremely accommodating and essentially said they could adapt most dishes to exclude the dairy element when cooking.  I wasn't missing out on anything though.. just look at this incredible chunk of meat! 

Yes, that humongous, dark, succulent, tender piece of heavily meat is actually a beef fillet. The best cut of beef there is. Only the best of course, at Hand and Flowers!

Tom Kerridge Hand and Flowers Beef Fillet and Chips

Tom Kerridge Hand and Flowers Beef Fillet and Chips

Tom Kerridge Hand and Flowers Beef Fillet and Chips

Tom Kerridge Hand and Flowers Beef Fillet and Chips

There weren't much option however with the starters, or covers. Bread as a couvert is complimentary (of course) and comes with sourdough and granary bread with butter and whitebait with a sauce of some kind. They kindly brought me some balsamic vinegar and oil to dip my bread in. 

My Fillet of Beef with their famous Hand and Flowers Chips came to about £40. The cut was about the size of my two fists put together, perfectly cooked - medium rare, my favourite - very moist, not chewy at all, and was melt in your mouth good. Even writing bout it is making my mouth water. The chips were triple cooked and so crunchy with a fluffy centre. Best chips I've had hands down. Combined, the two made the perfect portion size, leaving just enough room for dessert. 

Tom Kerridge Hand and Flowers Dairy Free Dessert


Tom Kerridge Hand and Flowers Dairy Free Dessert

Speaking of which. Just look at that colour. Again, there were no dairy free options on the menu, but the kitchen said they would be creative and make me something special from all the dessert ingredients. This is what they came back with. A plate full of colour and texture.. true culinary presentation there. 

Granted its just bits of pineapple and strawberry with honeycomb chunks and a dollop of raspberry sorbet. The flavours were srharp and refreshing. a great palette cleanser! As I also have braces (still!) I had to be wary of the honeycomb incase a brace bracket popped off, but they were a mixture of crunchy and chewy. They didn't taste like the honeycomb in know in a Crunchie bar, but without the heaps of sugar added, this dessert was super flavourful and super healthy too.


Overall the food was spectacular. Hands down, the best meal I've ever had. The staff were very nice and helpful. The service was great and high quality, as you'd expect, they were great with my intolerance and actually remembered what everyone ordered despite having 3 different waiters looking after us.

The only thing I would comment on though, is the lighting. With only small lamps on the walls, the pub relies heavily on natural daylight. Being so low down, there isn't much.. if any. They could do with adding some spot lights in to really air the place and stop it looking so dark and small. So dark, I could barely see my food at times!

Other than that, I think Kerridge has done exceedingly well and has created a truly incredible gem everyone has to visit in their lifetime.

Have you been to the Hand and Flowers? What was your experience like?
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