The list— No. 14

The Hand & Flowers

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 Hand and Flowers in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, was Tom Kerridge’s first pub and the only in the country to attain and hold two Michelin stars. The celebrity chef, along with his talented team, manages to blow the minds of the diners who make the pilgrimage to eat at the Buckinghamshire pub.

The pub 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, their is an accomplished team behind the pub’s success. In charge of the kitchen is head chef Aaron Mulliss, who is a trendsetter and 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. While Beth has been 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 a la carte menu.

Also available on the current a la carte menu is lovage soup with Bramley Apple, smoked eel, and ham and cheese tortellini; slow cooked duck breast with duck, beetroot tart, roasted plum and girolles; and half beer roast chicken with celeriac royale, truffle mayonnaise, mushroom crunch and oak gravy.

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 near by the pub. Each guest can select which breakfast they would like to be pre-prepared and waiting for them at the Hand and Flowers.

The Hand & Flowers

126 West Street


01628 482277


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