Meal at The Hand and Flowers

Meal at The Hand and Flowers

at Hand and Flowers on 30 June 2012
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Meal Views

Another repeat of the classic dishes, squeezed in whilst we could and before the reservation calendar was to become untenable.  Simply put, a powerhouse of dishes, although I was disappointed to see the onion jam around the parfait clearly older than necessary with not enough moisture, as if it had been left out for 30 minutes; clearly they expect to sell more and have numerous prepped in advance but either this one was prepped far too far in advance or left in a warm area.  Either way, not great as it has caused me to remember this and write the majority of this piece on that rather than the meal which, was again, on the whole, wonderful.

Food Grade: 88%

The chicken liver parfait rivals that of Heston Blumenthal’s mandarin meat fruit which is hard to do and the fish and chips were simply the best standard you can get with succulent sweetness of the meat surrounded by an unbelievably light and crispy batter.  The Great British Menu duck dish with butter gravy was just wonderful (a must if you go) and the mustard mash with the pork was a true delight.  In short, there was nothing that we tried that was not liked by everyone.

Tom Kerridge’s food here is worthy of its 2 stars without question based purely on the sure-fire victories in the mouth they produce and it is wonderful to be able to have a pint with your meal if you so wish as opposed to wine only, such is the nature of the gastropub.  Although, that word should be used with caution as it is not really a gastro pub – it is a restaurant in a pub shell with no room for anyone to us the bar in the conventional pub way, although one can dine at the very small bar as an emergency option.  The bar itself has had to be turned in to counter dining to make up for the extremely high demand.  Getting a table here is now so difficult, my recommendation would be to take a day off work on a Mon or Tues and go for lunch or dinner any way possible a few months in advance.

A superb place for food, just such a shame the secret is out as it is such an effort to book, find a date, wait the distance and then travel there with my only reservation being that when that day comes, you had better not be late as they do double booking sessions so your table is only good for 2 hours which does not seem long enough.  Diners should not expect a refined service as many on the front of house are quite young, however, this adds to a cosy, family and unpretentious place it is and the ones I have spoken seemed passionate about the food.

9 / 10

Cod scotch egg


Omelette of Smoked Haddock

Duck liver parfait

GBM 2010 Duck

GBM 2010 Duck

Fish & chips

Essex bun

Pork with mustard mayonnaise

Tonka Bean Panna Cotta

Bitter orange soufflé

Chocolate and ale cake

Parsnip soup and crisp

Soup starter

Whole quail

Quail meat tenderness

Chocloate mousse (1)

Chocloate mousse (2)

Table view of bar counter

White bait amuse bouche

Liver parfait


Hot foie gras

Cod scotch egg

Salt-baked lamb


GBM winning duck

Fillet steak with béarnaise

Tripple cooked chips

Ice cream

Chocolate cube

Pear soufflé

Crème brulée