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The Hand & Flower (Bar)

Picture of The Hand & Flower in Fulham, London

617 Kings Road, Fulham, London, SW6 2ES
Cuisine: British
Tel: 0207 731 0999 | Email to The Hand & Flower | Transport: Fulham Broadway | Write review

The Hand & Flower Review

It's my opinion that gastropubs are McDonalds for the middle classes. Why? Because every single one looks exactly the same as all the others. Where McDonalds trades in lurid primary colours, your average gastropub, while undeniably more subtle and inviting, is just as samey with the all-pervasive dark wood, candle-lit tables and walls plastered with chalkboards and an excess of prints and mirrors in quirky frames. There's no denying that they're easy on the eye, but that doesn't make them interesting. Essentially, they're the Hollyoaks actors of the restaurant world. Pretty to look at, but seemingly interchangeable with nothing of note to say for themselves.

It's because of this, that, unless you happen to find a venue with a standout menu, it's difficult for a gastropub to be in the least bit memorable. After a moment engrossed in your braised something served on a pile of whatever, it's likely you'd forget whether you were dining in Battersea, Hammersmith, Hampstead or indeed Fulham, where I discovered my latest victim of this cult of conformity, The Hand and Flower.

All the elements were there. I was barely through the door to the bar area before I clocked the array of twee, mismatched standard lamps and you've guessed it, dark wood and chalkboards. 'We are all individuals' crowed the cast of Monty Python's Life of Brian in my head, and wrongly, or as I suspected, rightly, I quickly jumped to conclusions about the type of dining experience I was about to encounter.

Was I right? I have to say I was more impressed by the look of the dining room out back. Walls with tall wood panelling and domed glass roof gave it the feel of an elegant parlour. The graceful surroundings were a nice contrast to the buzz of the open kitchen and other tables, occupied largely by floppy haired gentlemen in pastel pullovers and their immaculately dressed girlfriends who, unlike us, weren't ordering the very drinkable house wine. For a girl like me from a far less prestigious SW postcode, it was rather nice really, a bit like like being a silent extra in a Richard Curtis film depicting a side of London life that most residents find it hard to believe actually exists.

On to the food, a trio of scallops for starters made for a good beginning to the meal, especially the meaty example served in a white bean cassoulet. Moving on to mains, my guest reported that her medium rare steak was perfectly grilled, and bar the odd rogue undercooked chip, she was very happy. I couldn't say the same about my caramelised onion, potato and brie tart. Like gastropub decor, it was attractive but ultimately unimaginative and bland. The perfectly cooked pastry contained nicely caramelised onions, potato that was soft and well seasoned and creamy, stringy brie. Although everything the menu promised, it lacked any exciting texture and taste, it left me thinking, 'what's the point?'. Pudding was better with a perfect Creme Brulee, and my guest's trio of ice cream, with a special mention going to the delicious banana scoop.

Despite this, it's fair to say that it was a case of so far so forgettable. Then the entertainment started. Now, this being my first visit to the Hand and Flower I can't say how regular an occurrence this is but certainly the least forgettable part of the night was when the Richard Curtis crowd got rowdy (rich people can get rowdy - who knew?). I was absorbed as the 'Alpha Rah', identified by his inexplicably fluffy hair, took to the front of the restaurant and started bench pressing his date (not a euphemism). The restaurant erupted into a chorus of braying cheers, while we looked on bemused. Is this what counts as entertainment on the King's Road? Sadly, I can't tell you because just as things got interesting it was time for us to leave. Hopefully, if you decide to go to the Hand and Flower you'll see some Fulham gymnastics of your own. Otherwise, you might just emerge blinking onto the street confused as to your whereabouts and already struggling to remember which generic McGastropub you'd visited in the first place.
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Customer Reviews for The Hand & Flower

Average (based on 4 votes): 4 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of The Hand & Flower.

“I agree with the writer when it comes to the ubiquitous gastropub with its fomulaic ambience, lacklustre food and equally unimaginative clientele. I've eaten at The Hand and Flower, and in a city like London there really is no excuse for such mediocrity. If this is really what floats the boats of the reviewers above may I politely suggest they should get out more?”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Charlie S, London (8 years 7 months 19 days ago)

“I dont recognise any of the points made my Kate - it sounds to me like she has a problem with gastro pubs and people who live in nice postcodes. I have visited the pub several times now since it was done up and every time the food has been outstanding. ok some of the dishes might be slightly on the expensive side but it is worth paying for when the price is matched by quality food and service. maybe she should stick to McDonalds.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
chrisfoodie, london (8 years 7 months 20 days ago)

“I went here at the weekend and the staff were really nice and friendly, especially the manager. The goats cheese starter was definitely the best part of the meal for me, and the portions were all really big so I think it's good value for money!!”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Tracy, London (8 years 7 months 21 days ago)

Show all user reviews for The Hand & Flower

“My boyfriend and I went there together a couple of weeks ago. I don't normally write reviews but I had such a lovely meal there, I felt like i should. I had the scallops and my boyfriend had the steak and they were both cooked to perfection. The service was great, the waitress was very attentive and friendly. I definitely recommend it!”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Layla Afshar, London (8 years 10 months 8 days ago)

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The Hand & Flower Opening Hours

Monday: 12:00pm - 11:00pm Friday: 12:00pm - 12:00am
Tuesday: 12:15pm - 11:00pm Saturday: 12:00pm - 12:00am
Wednesday: 12:00pm - 11:00pm Sunday: 12:00pm - 10:30pm
Thursday: 12:00pm - 11:00pm    

Additional Information

  • Cuisine Type: British
  • Dress Code: Not Specified
  • Group: Real Pubs

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