The Chequers, Marlow
THE CHEQUERS: MARLOW
WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT:
- Select your own aged Australian beef from the Butcher’s Block
- Stay in one of the newly renovated bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms
- Enjoy the quirky decor and stylish furnishings
- Check out the broad menu, full of gastropub classics
Chequers Pub and Dining Room is located on Marlow High Street, Henley-on Thames. A popular destination with Londoners looking for a slice of rural life at the weekends, this charming high street is decked out with colourful bunting and lined with independent boutiques, high-end chain stores and an impressive array of stylish bars and restaurants.
Shortly after arriving, my boyfriend Alex and I took a wander around and were impressed with the quaint Georgian shop fronts, meandering streets and passageways. We followed the road down to the River Thames, where we watched a few boats go by and checked out the town’s impressive suspension bridge, which was built in the 1800s. We caught the train to Marlow from London, but there is a carpark about five minutes away from The Chequers on Institution Road.
The Chequers has a long history as a pub and has been welcoming revellers since it was built in the 16th century and you must look out for the original ship timbering beams in the bar. Recently, it was given a 21st-century makeover, with nine super-stylish ensuite bedrooms. If you like eclectic, retro and 1950s-style, you’ll love it.
We loved all the design features in our bedroom including the statement wallpaper, funky bedhead and mid-century modern furniture. The Feather and Black double bed was really cosy with super-comfortable pillows and throws. There was also a gorgeous rattan chair with a funky cushion and a sheepskin rug, posing as a throw, at the end of our bed.
I was surprised with how spacious the bathroom was – I’ve genuinely stayed in hotel rooms that have been smaller. I loved the Farrow and Ball colours, huge freestanding bath and power shower. The Penguin book cover poster was also fab and we spotted quite a few throughout the building and I'm now definitely adding one of those to my shopping wishlist!
There were also plenty of thoughtful details throughout, including Temple Spa toiletries, a sewing kit and a Nespresso coffee machine (though weirdly no milk, you need to order this from the bar). During my stay, I noted the bedside clock has stopped so I let the staff know and was amused to find the batteries had been removed on purpose because it ticked so loudly, so it was more of an ornament! I guess we all use our phones these days, but, if you plan to visit, don’t let the wrong time catch you out!
The only downside of the room was that it was positioned above the restaurant and we could hear one of the heavy fire safety doors slamming all evening and the music continued in the bar long after closing. You have to expect some noise when staying above a pub, but if you need total quiet to drift off, you may want to bring some ear plugs.
The bar and restaurant were also full of cosy furnishings, quirky posters, funky light features and fireplaces. It made think this would be a great place for a first date as it's quite romantic and there are loads of things on the walls to talk about - if you worry about running out of conversation!
We were invited for both dinner with wine and breakfast at The Chequers.
Reluctantly, we decided to skip the starters (or ‘Small Plates’ as they’re listed on the menu) to leave room for pudding - we’d had a three-course meal the night before, a hearty brunch and a couple of afternoon pints! But some of the tempting appetisers on offer included Whiskey & Chicken Liver Parfait (£6), Buffalo or BBQ Chicken Wings (£7) and Twice Baked Cheddar Soufflé (£7).
Here’s what we had to eat:
Mains: Salmon and Herb Fishcake with Buttered Spinach (£12) and a Poached Egg (additional £1.95) – and The New Yorker Steak with Peppercorn sauce and melted Swiss Cheese with Triple Cooked French Fries (£8.90 per 100g)
Desserts: Sticky Toffee & Date Pudding (£6) and Warm Chocolate Brownie (£6)
The Chequers has earned an impressive reputation for its grass-fed steaks, which are brushed with their in-house special marinade. Tender with a crispy edge and smothered in melted cheese, Alex thoroughly enjoyed his and even let me steal a few crispy fries, which were delicious.
The Fishcake was also nice and far more filling than it looked. Salmon and poached eggs is always a winning combination. The Hollandaise Sauce was tasty and I enjoyed the Pea Puree.
We were so glad we saved space for dessert because they were heavenly! The Sticky Toffee Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce was moist and not too sweet and the warm Chocolate Brownie was deliciously gooey, perfectly complemented by the Salted Caramel Ice Cream. Delicious.
We were spoilt for choice a breakfast. The buffet was stocked with all the usual cereals, yoghurts, fruits, croissants, toast and jams and there was also plenty on offer on the a la carte menu as well. Along with the Full English, Vegetarian Full English, Eggs Benedict, Royale and Florentine you could also order Smashed Avocado with Quinoa, Tomatoes and Poached Eggs.
Alex loved his Eggs Benedict with Toasted English Muffin and Bacon (£5/£9) – while I went for something slightly different and ordered the Belgian Waffle with Smoked Bacon and Maple Syrup (£8). This was a total indulgence for me (I normally stick to porridge in the mornings) but it was worth every calorie. I savoured every mouthful and remained on a sugar high for most of the morning.
The Chequers bar and restaurant has a great, cosy atmosphere with some fabulous food and we really enjoyed our evening. Marlow is also a great place to visit and we’d definitely go back for a wander around the pretty lanes, shops and a stroll along the Thames.
53 High St, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, SL7 1BA
Prices start from £90 per night midweek and £110 per night at weekends.
Dotty Dishes was a guest of The Chequers