I booked this restaurant as a birthday treat for my husband after he fell in love with Tom Kerridge and his food on an episode of Masterchef, I logged on to the website (during the programme, causing it to crash!) and found that there was one spot for my husband's birthday. 9:45 at night. We decided to go for this and we were very excited! I had my food picked out before we even got there!
We arrived and were seated instantly. I had high heels on and the waitress paused when I was trying to weave through the tables to make sure we didn't get lost which I thought was nice. We we seated at the far end of the restaurant up a little step. The tables were close together but it didn't feel overly crowded. We also found a birthday card on the table for my husband which was a nice touch, thank you.
Our drinks order was taken swiftly and we were ordered with ease. The staff were very polite and knowledgeable and though we didn't require it, were offering excellent advice about wine etc. We were advised our main courses would take about 25 minutes - not a problem for us. We were also offered water.
We were bought little canapes which we weren't expecting, some deep fried white bait, Marie Rose sauce and some breads. My hubby doesn't like fish so I had those to myself and he ate most of the bread, which was still warm and lovely.
My husband ordered the venison and said it was lovely, he wasn't sure about the Swiss chard accompaniment as he said it was very rich, but still very tasty. He lovely every bite of it, and ordered a side of the Hand and Flowers chips on the side.
I myself had the famed duck dish which won Tom Kerridge the Great British Menu in 2010. It came beautifully presented on a wooden board with a little pot of savoy cabbage. Admittedly this next part is me personally, and not a slight on the food - I don't add salt or butter to my food, I just never have, so to have cabbage which had had this added was a little much for me, and it was very rich, so I was unable to eat it all. The duck was beautiful with a lovely sticky skin. The gravy was lovely and the chips very crispy.
We ordered our desserts and they came swiftly and were gorgeous as well, I had the chocolate and ale cake, which had a little shot of ale as an accompaniment to intensify the chocolate flavour in the cake, this was explained well to me by the staff but I don't drink so I gave it to my husband who said it was very nice! He had the banana soufflé and said it was one of the best things he had ever eaten. It did look gorgeous.
The bill was very reasonable for what we had eaten, especially for a restaurant of such high calibre. I was a little aggrieved that the service charge had been added when I would have liked to have chosen my own amount but I suppose it made it easier than me having to decide for myself.
The staff left enough time for you to eat without feeling rushed or hurried and this was perfectly timed for us, less so for another diner who was trying to be quicker than we were.
The atmosphere was lovely and everyone was enjoying themselves, you didn't feel too close to others though you knew they were there and there was no sense of rushing us out despite it being late and none of the menu options had sold out, so we were able to have what we wanted.
The staff all wished us goodnight on the way out which was lovely.
The only thing I would say is that the H&F ring you before your reservation to confirm, but if you miss the call it is a nightmare to get in touch with them as they are so busy receiving 2,500 phone calls and 1000 emails a day. They will eventually get back to you but it did lead to a little stress on our part, worrying that our table may be cancelled or something. Please be patient, they do get back to you.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in the beautiful Georgian town of Marlow, having built a huge popularity with its award winning food and now providing luxury suites. Within a year they had earned a Michelin Star, 3 AA Rosettes and 6/10 in the Good Food Guide. Now, having acquired two neighbouring cottages, they offer a similarly high level of accomodation. Relax in the Hot Tub or the huge stone bath, walk-in rain showers and big fluffy robes. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- The Hand And Flowers Hotel Marlow