The Hand & Flowers
Not too long ago I visited Tom Kerridge’s two Michelin starred restaurant ‘The Hand & Flowers’ for a family birthday celebration. We did have to wait a whole year to get in but this was somewhere we were really keen to try out. Set in the quaint town of Marlow, this restaurant really was a stunning example of what can be achieved with the right building, in the right setting. I am a huge fan of the television programme ‘The Great British Menu’ and as far as I can recall, this was the first time I’d really seen or heard of Tom Kerridge. I particularly liked his ‘Celebration of the Aylesbury duck’, that he cooked during the show and for this reason I was really looking forward to eating at his restaurant. As we turned up, we walked through a very calm and sophisticated pub setting, it was dimly light but the sun shone through the windows as I took my seat. The menu looked very interesting with plenty of choice. I went for the Slow Cooked Duck Breast “A L’Orange” with Duck Sausage, which came with a Rillette tartlet topped with Girolles. My family ordered other meaty dishes including another duck dish so for this occasion we decided to treat ourselves to a bottle of Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir Estate Cuvée 2012 from Oregon.
When the food came out the presentation was perfect, it looked just how you would expect a 2 Michelin Starred chef’s food to look. The duck was tasty and succulent, and the rest of the accompaniments were good, although there were times when I expected a little more out of the dish. This is where the wine came in, it was a real hit! With hints of dark fruit and an earthy touch it definitely added a little something special to the meal. For dessert we ordered a cheese board and I chose a chocolate cake with salted caramel, which was also very nice.
My overall experience of The Hand & Flowers was really pleasant, but I believe it could have been slightly better. My family enjoyed themselves and did like the food but for some reason were not as wowed as they thought they may have been. Of course this could have come down to them being to critical. We did have a good experience though and it was for a special occasion so when I look back now I do think of it as a great meal out. The wine definitely helped bring the meal together as the flavours of the Pinot Noir did somewhat emphasise the flavours of the food.
If you are planning to cook duck any time soon then I would definitely recommend a Pinot Noir from Oregon, USA and The Vinorium has just the wine, Eyrie Vineyards Original Vines Pinot Noir 2012. It scored 94 points from Neil Martin and is an absolutely stunning wine, and even if your duck turns out a bit over cooked or not quite seasoned as well as you may have hoped, I am sure that the wine will save the day!