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#FoodieFriends – Dan’s Trip to Tom’s Table

A big thank you to Dan for sharing his experience of the Tom Kerridge pop-up at Harrods!…

I’ve wanted to go to Tom Kerridge’s incredibly popular Gastropub ‘The Hand and Flowers’ for some time, however given they don’t follow the usual ‘book-a-month-in-advance’ policy of most restaurants, Tom is clearly a believer in the old proverb that ‘good things come to those who wait’ – the next dinner reservation they have is in August at time of writing! So when my parents noticed that Tom was doing a pop up restaurant in Harrods, we jumped at the chance and managed to snaffle a booking.

We had no idea what to expect as it was vague on detail, and transpired to be a temporary mini counter style restaurant set up in the food court. When I say mini counter I mean it – there were maybe 30 covers in the place but the area the chefs were cooking in was incredibly small, as you can see in the picture below. I know when I cook properly I instantly turn into a space invader, so it’s impressive to see such great things prepared so efficiently, and interesting to see the chefs at work.

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The menu was constructed from three sources – original dishes from The Hand and Flowers, some dishes from ‘The Coach’ (another pub style creation in Marlow) and original dishes made for the pop-up.

I started with the Pig’s head, served with a sweet date sauce, pancetta and chickweed. This sounds incredibly rich but in practice was just right – the meat incredibly succulent and bursting with raw flavour, the sauce adding a soft sweetness which partnered it perfectly and the pancetta just giving it that slightly salty, umami undertone. As a hardcore carnivore this definitely appealed and for me this would have been classified as a standout dish anywhere.

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The main was a charcoal-cooked fillet of beef cured in treacle, with hot dog onions and thyme. Again, the beef was cooked beautifully and so tender – I would say the treacle was a nice combination but possibly suffered from coming after the more explicit flavour punch on the noise of the pig and date. The hot dog onions were a nice accompaniment, and an unusual style but absolutely excellent! Takes me back to baseball in the States….

In the dessert you can definitely sense the pub influence in the construction of a chocolate and ale tart, laced with salted caramel – delicious if rich. Chocolate and ale isn’t a combination I’d particularly appreciated before, as my beer tastes tend to veer more towards the golden ale side than stout but the two were a delight together.

And obviously the big question – was Tom there? He was, and was kind enough to have a chat with us and sign my menu. It was clear his staff respected and liked him and was an extra little buzz on the meal for us! So many restaurants have an increasingly detached amount of chef involvement and it’s nice to see a chef still involved with his projects.

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There was just one problem with a rather excellent meal and experience – it hasn’t dulled the need or desire to go to the Hand and Flowers!

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