RestaurantsBuckinghamshireMarlowSL7

survey result

Summary

£131
£££££
2
Average
2
Average
2
Average
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

What to make of TV-star Tom Kerridge’s Thames Valley pub, which helped catapult him to stardom in 2012 when Michelin awarded the place two stars. The choice of this ordinary-feeling inn on the edge of town was always “a little quirky”, but for many years satisfaction levels here held up even if the “ambience varies depending on where you are sat, as it can be nice and atmospheric, or you can feel very much shunted to one side”. But for the most part, folks historically didn’t quibble: they just focused on the down-to-earth style and “very high-quality British cooking”. The latter is still sometimes applauded, even if dishes can seem “more traditional and less interesting/exciting than expected”. But the overall tide of sentiment has turned in recent years, with a growing view that “it’s such a pity that what was a fantastic restaurant has now become overpriced and overrated”. Even those who still hail it as “quite possibly the best gastropub in Britain” can still view it as “seriously overpriced and certainly not worthy of two Michelin stars”. And that’s still the upbeat verdict. More representative of feedback are those who say it’s “horrendously overpriced for what is only reasonable pub food” (“two stars? I’m sorry, but that really is a case of the ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’”). Despite this being one of Michelin’s worst ongoing conclusions, with their history of kowtowing to TV celebrities we’re not betting on a re-rating any time soon.

Summary

£131
£££££
3
Good
3
Good
2
Average
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“The food is good, but it just feels like he overcharges because he can…” – that’s a middleground opinion on TV-star Tom Kerridge’s Thames Valley phenomenon: a fairly ordinary-feeling old inn on the edge of the town, which catapulted him to fame in 2012 after Michelin (slightly bizarrely) awarded the place not just one but two of its stars (and – partly as a result – it remains in the top-10 most mentioned venues in our annual diners’ poll outside the capital). Supporting the lack-of-value theme, the Hand & Flowers created national tabloid headlines in August 2022 for its highly priced grills (The Sun thundered: ‘TV chef Tom Kerridge defends charging £87 for a steak — by comparing it to a Bentley’). Views have been divided on the virtues of the cooking for years and when you even out the ‘ayes’ and ‘nayes’ it earned slightly better ratings again this year for food that fans say is “brilliant” (“the original Tom Kerridge and the best!”). For a significant majority, though, “it doesn’t seem much different from average pub food” and is “horribly overhyped” and “overpriced beyond anything ever previously experienced”. “Two Michelin stars??? It’s a boozer for heavens’ sake!”.

Summary

£124
£££££
2
Average
2
Average
2
Average
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

Tom Kerridge ultimately owes his TV stardom to achieving two Michelin stars for this pretty ordinary-looking Thames Valley gastropub in 2012, on the fringes of the town, and how he continues to hold them here is a total mystery. Yes, there are fans who hail “pub food at its best”, or even who say “the cooking is very good, but not the peak talked about a couple of years ago”. But more vocal are those who want to know “what is all the fuss about?” given cooking that’s “not special, not exciting, and such a let-down compared with TK’s other pub in town, The Coach”. “Once the food here was superb but it has steadily gone downhill to just average”.

Summary

£115
£££££
2
Average
2
Average
2
Average
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“Tom Kerridge’s (wonderful) versions of pub grub” mean there are still many reporters who “can’t wait to go back” to his immensely popular and consequently “overcrowded” Thames-valley gastropub, which owes its mighty reputation to Michelin’s award of a rare two stars, back in 2012. It was a questionable decision from the start, but could be glossed over at the time by the Hand & Flowers’ undeniably crowd-pleasing performance. However, ratings here have been in decline for years now, and it’s reaching a point where this down-to-earth hostelry is starting to seem “seriously overhyped”. It doesn’t help that TV Tom’s opened The Coach “literally down the road” which is “more fun” and has better scoff. And with this celebrity chef’s multiple other openings in London and Manchester, “Is TK just too stretched to keep control?”. (There’s also the question of when Michelin will finally stop slumbering and take away one or both stars here).

For 33 years we've been curating reviews of the UK's most notable restaurant. In a typical year, diners submit over 50,000 reviews to create the most authoritative restaurant guide in the UK. Each year, the guide is re-written from scratch based on this survey (although for the 2021 edition, reviews are little changed from 2020 as no survey could run for that year).

Have you eaten at The Hand & Flowers?

126 West Street, Marlow, SL7 2BP

Restaurant details

Highchair,Portions
No dress code
50
Yes

The Hand & Flowers Restaurant Diner Reviews

Reviews of The Hand & Flowers Restaurant in SL7, Marlow by users of Hardens.com. Also see the editors review of The Hand & Flowers restaurant.
Aroon L
Not your average pub! A brilliant experienc...
Reviewed 8 months, 21 days ago

"Not your average pub! A brilliant experience with imaginative interpretation of pub food and a decent pint beforehand. Accommodation is also very good."

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Prices

Availability 2 courses 3 courses coffee included service included
Lunch £42.00 £46.50

Traditional European menu

Starter Main Veggies Pudding
£28.00 £37.00 £7.50 £26.50
Drinks  
Wine per bottle £48.00
Filter Coffee £7.50
126 West Street, Marlow, SL7 2BP
Opening hours
Monday12 pm‑2:30 pm, 6:30 pm‑9:15 pm
Tuesday12 pm‑2:30 pm, 6:30 pm‑9:15 pm
Wednesday12 pm‑2:30 pm, 6:30 pm‑9:15 pm
Thursday12 pm‑2:30 pm, 6:30 pm‑9:15 pm
Friday12 pm‑2:30 pm, 6:30 pm‑9:15 pm
Saturday12 pm‑2:30 pm, 6:30 pm‑9:15 pm
Sunday12 pm‑5 pm

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