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“First Class Experience” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Hand and Flowers

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The Hand and Flowers
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5.0 of 5 Bed and Breakfast   |   126 West Street, Marlow SL7 2BP, England   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #10 of 19 Marlow B&B and Inns
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
“First Class Experience”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2013

Having read some ogf the reviews of this restaurant I wonder if we turned up at the right one. Admittedly there is virtually no room to sit and relax with a drink before or after the meal. We sat at the bar for 15 minutes and had a pleasant drink before going to our table. We had booked for 7pm on a Tuesday and were very aware of the differing sitting tmes and that we had the table until 9pm. No problem. We found the staff refreshingly freindly, but not overly so. Our order was taken, with all dishes explained in detail. I had a starter of smoked haddock omlette which was quite delicious. My wife passed on the starter but had the duck as a main and said it was very good. My dish of Lemon Sole was superb and exactly as explained. Both our sweets were excellent. The wine was not particularly expensive when compared with similar restaurants. In fact all in all a lovely evening, rounded off with a trip to the kitchen to meet Tom Kerridge.
Thanks to all the staff for making the experience so enjoyable.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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644 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (57)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2013

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.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2013

We stayed in the Angus Suite, it was fantastic, we had a massive bed, the suite was lovely, a great big sofa, coffee machine, mini bar, huge bath with shower over, very warm room, fireplace, the suite had loads of character, and in the garden a hot tub, we didn't use it but it looked very inviting, also a table and chairs and a gazebo covered seating, I bet its lovely in the summer relaxing with a glass of wine! we intend to return but for longer. The restaurant was great, service was impeccable and we felt very comfortable. Dinner was amazing I had the omelette, very filling, but delicious, my husband and I both had the Duck - this was wonderful, but not quite hot enough for my husband, but he still thought it was great, he prefers boiling hot food. I had souffle for dessert it was lovely and light, my husband had the chocolate square cake I didn't get a look in, so needless to say he loved it. Breakfast the next day was great too, and we felt everything was perfect, it was my husbands 50th, they even decorated his dessert plate with happy 50th birthday from all at the Hand and Flowers, nice touch and its the attention to detail we love. Well what more can I say except we will be back and for longer and in the summer where we can appreciate the lovely garden and hot tub, thank you Tom and your fantastic staff.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
121 reviews 121 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2013

My husband booked Sunday lunch at the Hand and Flowers as an anniversary treat. The young staff were attentive, knowledgeable and friendly. The restaurant was busy but they took time to check whether we'd enjoyed our food. The whitebait canapies in a newspaper cone were lovely as was the soda bread that accompanied it. My husband started with parsley soup, that contained beautifully cooked stuffed tortellini and ham hock crutons. I went for the smoked haddock and parmesan omelette that had a perfect balance of flavours and was rich without being sickly. I had the duck breast as a main, which came with amazing duck fat chips and a rich, sweet sauce. The shredded cabbage was a perfect accompaniment as was the broccoli and roasted hazelnut side dish. My husband had a fantastic array of perfectly cooked pork. We both just about had enough room for the chocolate and ale cake dessert and rounded it off with a very good coffee (only a slight gripe but it wasn't an espresso!). I was impressed that we were offered tap water as an option (although we went for mineral water). The seating was comfortable and the restaurant has a lovely relaxed ambience. It was a meal that was memorable for all the right reasons - we'll definitely be back!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
16 reviews 16 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2013

Having booked and been looking forward to an evening at this highly recommended Pub. We were called the day before to check our reservation, and to be told that we were not to arrive early for pre dinner drinks at the bar. I was a little confused because I was under the impression that it was a pub that did great food, not a Restaurent promoting itself as a pub. Whilst the restuarant is dimly lit for the intimate effect, I needed to use a candle to read the menu. This problem wasn't an issue for all tables.

We had starters and mains each, I had the enjoyable Pigs Head followed by steak, my partner the the the blow touched scallops followed by the duck, the scallops were really not great. The duck, just Ok

I feel our experience of the environment and the food didn't match up to the billing, or the bill.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, England
19 reviews 19 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2013

Saturday lunch on a last sitting.
Service brilliant.
Food was amazing. Without fault at any point. Fantastic touches like the Whitebait amuse bouche in newspaper! Superb with the cheapest Sherry I have seen anywhere outside of rural Spain.
Starters were sublime. Loved my Krispy Pig!
Out of four main courses we have menu envy on all of them but so happy with our own choice if that makes sense.
I'm not a dessert fan but have the pannacotta. I was a child again. Ginger jelly. Who knew?
Booked for the next available Saturday lunch on the way out. Reason enough to go. Worth every second of the hour journey from London. Part of the experience.
Loved it all.
Thank you very much.

  • Stayed January 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2013

I have been waiting to eat at The Hand and Flowers for a long time and my husband surprised me and booked lunch.
Firstly I need to say that if you remove the hype and the stars that this pub has been given, you have a great meal. If you popped in here for a pub lunch you wouldnt be disappointed. The food is really nice.
How on earth this pub got awarded two Michelin stars in completely beyond me. I have been fortunate to eat at other two and three star restaurants and there is no comparison.
The bar is ok but nothing special. The temperature was far too cold. The ladies loo entrance has no door and is right by the kitchen. The toilets are fairly tatty with exposed pipe work etc.
The staff are far too young and inexperienced to work in a so called 2 star restaurant. Most of their time was spend standing at the bar chatting. It is a mistake to employ inexperienced staff who have no idea how to work in this kind of restaurant. This job is a skill and the staff at Le Manoir in Oxford are amazing! They are there year after year and are truely professional. They make you feel very special and are part of the whole experience.
We had some bread on the table that was cold. No offer of any more I noticed!
We skipped the starters. I had the Lemon Sole as a main course and it was delicious. My husband had the Hake which was average and cold. We both had the chocolate and ale cake for desert which was also very good.
To summerise, we had a main course and a desert, a bottle of sparkling water and a Bacardi and Coke each, which was served in an average glass, the coke bottles were bought to the table and we were given cheap plastic pub things to stir with and our bill came to £100.
Nice pub food but desperately in need of a good shake up. Does not deserve 2 stars. If you want to have a true 2 star experience, save up and go to Le Manoir or Le Gavroche and see how the masters do it.
Michelin inspector...you should be ashamed!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Hand and Flowers

Address: 126 West Street, Marlow SL7 2BP, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Buckinghamshire > Marlow
Free Parking Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #10 of 19 B&Bs / Inns in Marlow
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — The Hand and Flowers 5*
Number of rooms: 2
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

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