Eating out in Marlow
PUBLISHED: 11:08 24 March 2009 | UPDATED: 15:52 20 February 2013
With its riverside setting and affluent residents you could say that good restaurants and Marlow go together like strawberries and cream...
Tom Kerridge and his wife Beth opened the Hand in Flowers on West Street, (01628 482277) five years ago, believing Marlow to be the place in which to pursue their Michelin ambitions and, judging by their success, they were right. Since then the delightful whitewashed former pub has gone from strength to strength.
It's certainly earned all its accolades including that coveted Michelin star, a place in the Good Food Guide, 3AA Rosettes and an Egon Ronay star. Providing a mix of modern British and French rustic cuisine, you'll find dishes such as Oxford Beef with Bone Marrow Bread Pudding, Pomme Galette and Braising Jus on the menu. We love it!
Last year the town's status as a foodie destination was enhanced with the arrival of Aubergine at the Compleat Angler, (01628 405405). It is sister to the Michelin-starred restaurant in Chelsea, patronised by royalty and A-list celebrities and its modern French cuisine has been created by William Drabble, using seasonal, organic and locally-sourced produce where possible. His menu features dishes such as Carpaccio of Hand Dived Scottish Scallops, Pig's Cheeks in Madeira, Clementine Soufflé with Dark Chocolate Sauce and with a two-course dinner from the a la carte men from £45 and lunch from £28.50, it seems that they've left high prices behind in London.
Also at the Compleat Angler is Bowaters Restaurant, (0844 8799128), named after the original owners of the hotel. Again its riverside setting and contemporary style provide a relaxed atmosphere for breakfast or lunch, and in the evenings a candle-lit intimate dinner setting. It's particularly popular for Sunday lunch.
The Vanilla Pod has long been catering for the discerning palates of the town. The former home of T.S.Eliot in West Street (01628 898101) this is a modern, stylish restaurant with a luxurious yet friendly ambience. As well as the main dining area downstairs, there is also private dining upstairs. Chef proprietor Michael McDonald is keen on being 'green' and supporting the local community. Strawberries and asparagus, for example, are picked just a mile away in the morning and served for lunch. Dishes are seasonal and varied and some incorporate his favourite ingredient, vanilla. How about Terrine of Salmon with Vanilla and Lime Pickled Cucumber or Vanilla Tea Jelly with Greek Yoghurt? A three-course à la carte dinner will cost you around £40.
For something a bit less formal, The Restaurant Bar and Grill in the High Street, (01628 488544), has an interior that is inspired by boating - navy leather, teak, stainless steel, photographs on the walls, and an open kitchen. Share a starter for two of mezze or Asian delicacies, feast on traditional Fish and Chips and Mushy Peas (£13.95) or Free Range Gloucester Old Spot Sausages with Mash and Onion Gravy (£11.15), or go for Teriyake Organic Salmon and Japanese Cucumber Salad (£15.40). They also serve pasta dishes, risottos, sandwiches, and home-made puds and ices, including one to share that features Sticky Toffee Pudding, Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Vanilla Creme Brulée. There's a covered terrace for alfresco dining.
Villa D'Este in Chapel Street, (01628 472012) has been here since the eighties and is family run, very friendly and with a busy atmosphere befitting an Italian restaurant (so maybe not for those who prefer to whisper). It serves authentic regional food.
For a slightly different take on Italian food try Don Lorenzo Cucina Classica Italiana (01628 482180), housed in in a tiny narrow building on two floors, full of old oak beams, which adds to its character. The menu is traditional Italian cuisine but draws on Greek, Arab and Chinese influences, with a modern twist - Pasta with Truffles, Fresh Scallops in White Wine.
Another restaurant with staying power is The Bull at Bisham, (01628 484734). It's a family-run, award-winning restaurant that has gained a good reputation over the years for its traditional food and fine wines, service and ambience. The classic menu choices include Sole Dieppoise (£19.95), Tournedos Rossini and Chateaubriand for two (£36). The sweet trolley is particularly recommended, and if you are booking for a birthday, you are presented with a complimentary cake.
If ethnic is your scene Jasmine Peking (01628 475035) is a long-established Chinese restaurant popular for its consistent high quality food and good service.
Curry lovers favour the Tiger Garden in West Street, (01628 48221). It has stylish décor and a garden for alfresco dining. The comprehensive menu contains exotic and innovative Indian dishes that are individually prepared, so it's not for those in a hurry. The categories include Traditional (from £7.95), Tandoori, Premier Selection (from £8.50-£15.95), and Seafood Specialities (Lobster Pan Fried over Charcoal, £24.95)....
READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE APRIL 2009 EDITION OF BERKSHIRE LIFE