Birthday Lunch at The Hand and Flowers, Marlow

The Hand and Flowers has been on my list for a very long time… to find out my sister was taking me there I was thrilled to say the least! She booked a table 6 months in advance! The gastropub is located in Marlow, Buckinghamshire a quaint English town just outside Maidenhead. Tom Kerridge and his wife opened the pub doors to the public in 2005, and within the first year gained a Michelin star! They received their second star in 2012, making it the first pub to hold two Michelin stars.

The Hand & Flowers

We arrived on time and our waiter Jamie greeted us at the door and showed us to our table, the pub was bright with natural light seeping through the windows, we had the perfect spot, table for 4 with an enclosed wooden seating area with glass walls giving us some space from the restaurant. The table was set up neatly with our menus sealed, I managed to open it with the butter knife as I didn’t want to ruin the menu.

Keeping everyone safe they were all wearing PPE and each table had anti bac, which I found reassuring.

Jamie made us feel welcome, wished me ‘Happy Birthday’ and The Hand and Flowers team wrote me a birthday card, which was a touching gesture.

After a few minutes of settling in we ordered our drinks – a pint of Estrella Damm, a non alcoholic cocktail – Cucumber Collins (Garden 108, Apple Juice, Chamomile Tea Droplets and Dr Polidori Cucumber Tonic), Dill Me In (Broken Clock Vodka, Fresh Lemon Juice, Caster Sugar, Fresh Dill and Egg) and the Cherry Ramos (Neat Gin, Cherry Syrup, Cream, Lemon Juice, Lime Juice, Cherry Bitters, Egg White and Soda Water). The Collins was tasty and refreshing a perfect summer drink. Dill Me In was also refreshing with hints of lemon citrus seeping through every sip. The Cherry Ramos was a fun cocktail – it reminded me of a sweet cherry shake, quite deadly if you’d ask me as you can’t taste the alcohol!

The drinks arrived with nibbles- whitebait and homemade bread that was tasty, we all devoured it all within seconds.

For starters:

Wingy chose the Courgette, Pea and ‘Chantilly de Chèvre’ Tart with Lamb Chorizo and Mint.

Chris chose the Pork & Pickled Onion Demi Pie with “Pied de Cochon en Gelee” and Spices Date Puree.

Asiel chose the Glazed Omelette of Smoked Haddock and Parmasan.

For myself I decided to have the Duck Liver Parfait with Orange Chutney and Toasted Brioche.

When our dishes arrived we were amazed by how aesthetically pleasing it looked, so creative! I managed to have a bite of everyones dishes. Asiel’s was smooth with tender haddock pieces! Wingy’s dish was rich and full of flavour with a light and crispy tart. Chris’ pie was also flavoursome and the ingredients complimented each other well. My own plate was minimalistic but I enjoyed it thoroughly – the parfait was smooth with hints of saltiness, that married well with the sweetness from the chutney and toasted brioche.

When our plates were cleared we were already ecstatic to try the main event!

Essex Lamb “Bun” with Sweetbreads and Salsa Verde

Reg Johnson Tempura Fried Chicken, Roasted Hispi Cabbage, Black Truffle and Sauce Vin Jaune

2 Slow Cooked Duck Breast with Sweet and Sour Onion Tart

Hand & Flowers Chips to share – as we heard that this was the best!

When our mains arrived we were yet again pleasantly surprised by the presentation; our partners chose the duck – absolutely delicious the duck breast was exquisite – tender and full of flavour, the tart was good too although I personally felt it could have been its own dish, as the textures were so different nevertheless they both loved it! Wingy had the Chicken – the flavours were phenomenal, rich… creamy… the flavours were dancing in my mouth. I chose the lamb bun, I first thought I would need an extra side with my dish as it looked minuscule, but size doesn’t matter! The richness from the lamb almost defeated me, all the components were compacted in a small pastry parcel with cabbage, shredded lamb and the lamb cutlet.

We all enjoyed our dishes and their chips were cooked to perfection – a fluffy middle with a crispy outer layer.

It was such a lovely dining experience at The Hand & Flowers but it was ashame that we couldn’t eat more, as I would have loved to try their desserts! Nevertheless we have a perfect excuse to go back!

Thank you, Wingy for this generous treat!

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