What looks like a small and unassuming local from the outside is actually an eclectic mix of diverse areas catering for all ages. For a traditional pub with a difference look no further than the restored Hand and Flower.
Nestled cosily between the Ham, Petersham Cricket Club and the local shops of Ham Parade, the Hand and Flower has been restored to its original name after a brief sojourn as the Legless Frog. With views and outdoor tables overlooking the idyllic Ham common, the venue offers a large garden complete with pond and children’s play area, a small traditional bar and two slightly more formal dining rooms in the back.
It offers an unusual mixture of styles but the casual approach to both the decor (there is something very comforting about the cricket memorabilia decorating the uneven walls) and the layout seems to work - laid back and old fashioned in the front, modern and ordered in the back. It’s a bit of a hike from Kingston or Richmond stations but the 65 bus flits regularly between the two.
You get the feeling that the Ham locals are very pleased to have their old pub back to how it once was. While this is by no means the old man’s pub that it undoubtedly was way back when, there is a definite whiff of the traditional and homely about the Hand and Flower and it is this that marks it out from others in the area.
The clientele are mostly over thirty and the regulars who prop the bar up on a weeknight are considerably older but the young affable staff and the families who come in at weekends make it a friendly and pleasant place to while away many hours with no pressure to drink or eat huge amounts.
The menu here changes daily and all products are sourced locally. The Sunday Roast is so good and with such a choice (chicken, lamb, beef or a combination of all three for £7.95-£10.95) that it seems a waste to go for something like fish and chips or risotto.
Main dishes are reasonably priced from £7 for a linguini arabbiata to £9.50 to for a pan fried red snapper and there is much to choose from including three different steaks between £12 and £15.50. Starters are few and mainly vegetarian (all at £4) and platters to share are priced at £7.
The plentiful and mouth watering dessert menu is a better bet than the starters and everything is homemade. Desserts like sticky toffee pudding, orange and cointreau cheesecake and pear and almond tart all come in ridiculously generous portions at a mere £4 each and certainly don’t disappoint on flavour.
The Hand and Flower stocks over sixty wines and isn’t badly priced at £14-£40 a bottle. Many of the wines are available by the glass and they offer the rest of the bottle free if you order two glasses of the wine of the month (red, rose and white). Just be aware that these bottles do sell out quickly.
Being a good old fashioned kind of place, pint drinking is popular and the locals favour Timothy Taylor, London Pride, Doonbar and Heineken. Becks Vier and Staropramen are also on tap alongside a guest ale like Tanglefoot. Budweiser, Corona, San Miguel and Peroni are available in bottles and there’s an impressive selection of Fruit Shoot drinks for younger patrons.
The Last Word
This sort of country style pub is a dying breed in London. The expansive garden is a great pull in the summer months and the restaurant in the back ensures the Hand and Flower is an ideal place to take the family with the guarantee of fine wines and a top quality roast on a Sunday.