Dining out at the 2 star Michelin Hand and Flowers

Made my first trip to the Hand and Flowers restaurant in Marlow, having heard about it being awarded a second Michelin star via both the television and the local newspaper several months ago. Despite booking over 3 months in advance we were unable to get in on their first sitting, so had to settle for the second sitting at 8.30pm. You certainly can’t just turn up and buy either a drink or hope to get an empty table, as you’ve got no chance as I had asked to go earlier if they got a cancellation, which of course they didn’t!

Despite having a pub layout, it is quite small and has no room for pre-dinner or post-dinner drinks. In fact the management warn patrons in advance they will not be able to arrive early for their table as there is no where for them to stand, let alone sit. For those on the first sitting (be it for luncheon or dinner) are also told in advance that their table will need to be vacated at the very latest by either 2.15pm or 8.30pm depending on whether you have booked for lunch or an evening meal. Such is the demand for tables, that customers are willing to put up with the “house rules”.

There is a decent sized car park adjacent to the Hand and Flowers, situated at 126 West Street, Marlow on the Medmenham/Henley Road on the right hand side as one drives away from the centre of Marlow. Space inside the hand and Flowers is cosy and certainly is not somewhere to take children, not just because of the lack of space, but also the price tag. The Hand and Flowers is not somewhere you would go for a regular meal out, as a three course meal without any drinks is going to cost you between £40 and £60 a head, depending on what you choose from the A La Carte meal. In the evenings there appears to be no set menu, so a couple should expect to pay £120 if they want a bottle of house wine to wash down their meal.

Having said all the above the quality of every course was exceptional (as you would you expect), and the service top notch, even if a dozen hand cut Hand and Flowers chips do cost £4.00 (but are very tasty!). In terms of value for money the food was magnificent, and for a special occasion very much worth the trip and investment. It is certainly a very different dining experience and one can see why the Marlow restaurant (as it is not a pub, but a restaurant) is so sort after. I will be returning to the Hand and Flowers but next time I am going to let someone else pay!

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