The time had come after booking at least six months before for me to reveal Lawrence’s Birthday meal surprise. It was safe to say he had no idea where we were going and after a tube then a train and then a longish walk into Marlow we arrived at our home for the evening.

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As the title has already given it away our evening was spent at Tom and Beth Kerridge’s wonderful two michelin starred Hand and Flowers. The husband and wife partnership opened back in 2005 and they aimed to provide excellent food but in an informal and casual local pub environment. They’ve definitely succeeded in doing just that!

We arrived rather early so made ourselves comfortable on the sofas in the bar area and began by noshing on the delicious pork scratchings, along with of course one of Tom’s specialities the flavoured G & Ts.

It was then time to make our way into the restaurant and begin with simple nibbles of Lawrence’s favourite whitebait and incredibility tasty homemade breads with salted butter.

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Now onto the main event as always we went halves on everything, so to start us off we had the parfait of salmon with black apple jelly, caviar and garlic bread. Then  it was onto a very unusual but incredibly tasty dish of salt baked swede and haggis tart with crispy lamb.

Mains started with a well presented Essex lamb ‘bun’ with sweetbreads and salsa verde. Very rich and cleverly created dish.

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Our final meaty choice was the tenderloin of pork with pickled cabbage and garlic sausage. Very hearty and filling dish but ever so tender meat.

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Having just about managed it all and feeling like we could perhaps be rolled out of the restaurant we still couldn’t resist squeezing in one dessert between the two of us. Had to be the chocolate ale cake with salted ice cream, delicious and had sweet dreams for weeks about that pudding.

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We then moved into the bar to wait for our taxi home, rather long mission to try and get trains home if you’re not staying in the area. Lo and behold behind Lawrence’s shoulder sat Russell Brand eating away with a beautiful blonde, wonder how far in advance he had to book.

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It was an incredible evening and hats off to the Kerridge’s for a relaxed atmosphere and even better food which you will never grow tired of. Although perhaps not so good on the waistline to be eating like that on a weekly basis.

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