We spent the weekend in Buckinghamshire, UK. The Hobbit lived here for 10 years before he moved in with me in NL, so I have a lot of very good memories here, we both love it there, it’s lovely, green and it’s our home away from home.
Roughly a year ago, we thought it would be nice to have dinner at The Hand and Flowers in Marlow, the only UK pub to hold 2 Michelin stars. We watch BBC Food & Drink with Tom Kerridge and we like what we see on telly, so we wanted to try that ourselves. Yet getting a reservation on a Saturday is not easy here, so we booked a year ahead.
During the year we were waiting for our dinner at the Hand and Flowers, Tom Kerridge opened The Coach in Marlow. This is a bar where they serve tapas style food; smaller portions so you get to have a taste of multiple dishes. We walked in on Saturday afternoon as they don’t do bookings, expecting to queue, but there was space at the bar available where we looked straight into the kitchen and saw all this deliciousness being prepared.
I ordered a Caesar Salad and Salmon Tartare with Rye Bread Cracker. The Caesar salad basically consisted of 4 ingredients and a dressing, but it was very, very tasty. Simple but beautiful. The Salmon Tartare was just a small bite but also very yum! The atmosphere is quite informal; big bar stools and cozy window tables. The green tiled wall suits the atmosphere of the bar, and the open kitchen really works well to make it feel more spacious.
After lunch, we walked over to Gatsby Menswear where the Hobbit ordered a suit; this is one of those typical quaint shops where they sell quality clothing with a lot of personal attention. PLUS they play records on this old-school record player in the shop; like.
The main event was that evening though; we went of a glass of bubbles first at the bar of the Hand an Flowers while we waited for our table; we were the last ‘shift’ so our reservation was for 2130. The bar is in a fairly new extension, which is quite atmospheric with leather sofas, wooden beams in the ceiling and candles: it gave me this warm cuddly feeling instantly.
Our dinner table was next to the fireplace and the dinner area is even more atmospheric; the low ceilings and wooden beams were a bit tricky for me when standing up, but added very much to the charm of the venue. The fireplace, wooden tables, and fresh flowers in the windows made for a very romantic setting. We were served some fried fish and bread while we went through the menu. The staff was very friendly and knowledgeable; there when we needed them, yet not stalking us or interrupting our conversations.
First we chose a wine, I opted for the Pinot Grigio “Dolomite”, Alois Lageder – Alto Adige, Italy 2013 which turned out to be a lovely white, going well with my fishy starter and veggie main. I chose to start with Pavé and Parfait of Salmon with Black Apple Jelly, Confit Lemon, Avruga Caviar and Garlic Bread. This was a lovely light dish with very fresh tastes; especially the confit lemon gave this nice fresh touch and complimented the salmon really well. I also loved the garlic bread, which was more a cracker, but it had leaves of herbs baked into it and a lovely salty taste that went well with the smoked mayonnaise that was served with it.
On the menu there were not a lot of vegetarian mains at first sight, but there were 3 dishes that they could turn veggie, and one veggie dish that was not on the menu. I choose for that one; it was roasted vegetables on a very thin pastry. I do not know exactly what else came with it, all I know is that it was gorgeous.
After two great dishes, we obviously were curious about dessert. I could not choose as there were just too many awesome desserts on the menu. In the end, I decided to go for the Bitter Orange Soufflé with Sweet Toast Crumb, Cardamon Ice Cream and Citrus Syrup. I like orange and lemon tastes a lot, and this sounded nice and fresh. And it was. I think it was one of the best desserts I ever had. I complemented it with a dessert wine; Vin de Glace “Chaudelune”, La Cave de Morgex – Aosta, Italy 2011, which was a good choice, if I may say so myself. 😉
It’s a shame that they are booked out so often and you really have to plan for your dinner here, but the wait is absolutely worth it!