What: A butcher’s by day, pub by night, this unusual combination has just opened on the site of a former boozer in the heart of Marlow. Launched in a Greene King owned site (the brewer also owns chef Tom Kerridge’s two-starred The Hand & Flowers) it is the first joint venture as part of Greene King’s Pub Partners division that sees the pub company team up with entrepreneurs looking to try something new in the pub space.
Who: Chef Tom Kerridge has joined forces with friend and butcher Andy Cook as he continues to build his restaurant empire in the Buckinghamshire town. Cook has already been providing The Hand & Flowers with its meat for nearly 10 years so the time was right to go into partnership.
The vibe: This very much depends on when you’re there. The small space is very much a butcher’s until 5pm, albeit one that has Sky sports on the TV and serves coffee, beer and snack food, and so don’t expect fruit machines and dogs lazing by the fireside. In the evening, however, (and all day on a Sunday) the shutters go up and the butcher’s counter is converted cleverly into fully stocked bar and things get a bit more lively.
The menu: Fresh meat from the counter includes beef from Smithfield market, venison and game from Hampshire game and Creedy Carver ducks as well as burgers, sausages, bacon and chicken kievs. There’s also a tight ‘no frills’ hot food offering that includes bacon rolls; smoked hot dogs with pulled pork, pickles chillies and mustard mayonnaise; sausage rolls, soctch eggs and pork pies. In the evening the pub will also serve a daily-changing hot dish. These include chicken wings; Irish stew; pork ribs; chicken curry; venison chilli; pulled pork; and a stuffed yorkshire pudding on a Sunday.
And another thing: This might not be the only Butcher’s Tap in the future. Kerridge says the concept doesn’t rely on many staff, with the butchers and chefs serving the food, meaning that it is a cost-effective operation that could be rolled out. The first venture sits on a former pub site that was only open during the evening, and the butcher’s model could be applied to similar struggling pubs in town centres to breathe new life into daily trade.
15 Spittal Street, Marlow SL7 3HJ