“We are bringing something a little different to the town.”

This is what The Oarsman’s new co-owner Nigel Sutcliffe said when opening the revamped gastropub.

Competition is tough in Marlow with Tom Kerridge’s three eateries in the town, The Ivy is also a popular choice and twice Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar is right next door.

However, Nigel - who previously worked with Heston Blumenthal and was previously managing director of The Crazy Bear Group – and James Mclean – who started his career winning Young Chef of the Year – have taken on the challenge.

Nigel has been a wine connoisseur for many years and this is evident from the wine list which includes a wide range of choices with some rare wines.

A new open kitchen has also been put in place for diners to see head chef Scott and sous chef Peter Webster prepare their food.

We sat down to experience the newly refurbished The Oarsman.

The food experience

Once seated guests are handed a traditionally formatted menu and then an accompanying larder and charcuterie menu. We were told the larders were a great choice to share whilst you decide on your food or to simply order as a starter.

After this recommendation, we opted to share the burrata which was served with fig olive oil and beetroot. It was amazing. The creamy burrata worked so well with the beetroot and the colours of the green fig olive oil alongside the purple from the beetroot made it look a spectacle.

To follow, we tried the ‘Trotters and Bacon, Beef Dripping Toast’ and ‘Cheddar Farinette, Marinated Tomato, Black Olive Dressing’. I was unsure how either would come out but both were delivered professionally and tasted great.

For the main we chose to try out the steaks – one ‘Scotch Sirloin with Pickled Walnut, Blue Cheese, Chicory’ and the ‘Roast Picanha Rump Cap with Rocket and Parmesan, Roast Garlic Butter’. On the side, we went for the ‘Crisp Potato with Chilli and Aioli’ and ‘Clapshot and Redcurrants’. The steaks were cooked perfectly and the accompanying flavours lived up to the elaborate names. Five chunky chips left you wanting more and the mash looked as good as it tasted.

To end the night we went for the ‘Spiced Doughnut with Milk and Honey’ and the ‘Ecclefechan Tart with Katy Rogers Crème Fraîche’. The latter was more of a savoury pudding with a texture of pecan pie, it was spiced well and filled with raisins. The doughnuts were the opposite of this and provided a sweet treat. They were light and fluffy and the dipping sauce was incredibly moreish.

The team were excellent at making sure we had everything we need even whilst the place was packed. It was a great atmosphere with everyone clearly enjoying their time at the newly revamped gastropub. Even though the competition is tough in Marlow for eateries, The Oarsman is doing more than enough to compete.