Celebrity chef Tom Kerridge’s two Michelin-starred pub the Hand and Flowers has gone from strength to strength and remains a spectacle in the culinary world, visited by eager foodies from across the country.
The pub, Kerridge’s first, opened in 2005 and gained its first Michelin star within a year, achieving its second in 2012. It also currently has four AA Rosettes and headed the Top 50 Gastropubs list for many years in a row, before being retired in 2014. It has now come out of retirement, reappearing on the list at number 19 in 2018, before moving into its current position.
After more than a decade, the Hand and Flowers is still a proper pub with proper food. It is friendly, comfortable and relaxing. “We wanted it to be exactly the kind of place where we would like to enjoy our days off,” says Tom.
Although it’s Tom’s name on the door, there is an accomplished team behind the pub’s success. In charge of the kitchen is head chef Aaron Mulliss, a trendsetter who is against following foodie fashions or fads.
Making every customer feel special as they walk through the pub’s door is top of his agenda, along with giving friendly service and exceptional food and drink.
Lourdes Dooley is the pub’s general manager, who believes the key to a great pub is a good landlord (you’ve got more than that in Tom) as well as friendly staff.
Last, but by no means least, is Tom’s wife Beth. A big supporter of Tom and the Hand and Flowers, she is an accomplished sculptor.
The Hand and Flowers is not Tom’s only pub; he owns and runs two others in Marlow – the Butcher’s Tap being the most recently opened. The Coach, formerly headed by Nick Beardshaw and also on the Top 50 Gastropubs list, achieved its first Michelin star in 2017.
Tom’s new venture the Butcher’s Tap opened in November last 2017 and pairs a butcher’s shop with a pub. The new site is a joint venture between friend and butcher Andy Cook, and pub company Greene King.
Back to the Hand and Flowers, though. Dishes you can expect from Tom’s team include warm ploughman’s cheese tart with ‘lamb porchetta’, crispy haggis and pickle for starters from the à la carte menu.
Also available on the current à la carte is lovage soup with Bramley apple, smoked eel, and ham and cheese tortellini; soy-glazed slow-cooked duck breast with mushroom ketchup and duck ragout & broad bean tart; and half beer roast chicken with lemon braised hispi cabbage, 48 month-aged Parmesan and mushroom crunch.
And to finish, milk toffee tart with ‘Old English Spice’ and rhubarb sorbet; Hand and Flowers chocolate and ale cake with salted caramel and muscovado ice cream; and bitter orange soufflé with frosted sourdough, plum pudding ice cream and Drambuie custard.
For special occasions, the Hand and Flowers also features a private dining room, The Shed, which can accommodate up to nine pre-booked guests and has three menus to choose from, ranging from £75 to £125 per person.
Guests who don’t want to journey home after visiting the Hand and Flowers can take advantage of the gastropub’s 11 bedrooms, situated in cottages nearby. Each guest can select which breakfast they would like to be pre-prepared and waiting for them at the Hand and Flowers.