Another coffee place in Marlow? That’s what you might think on hearing there is a new addition to the towns roster of places to eat and drink.
However The Assembly Room, situated above Steamer Trading at the top of the High St, is promoted as a “Brasserie & Café” open until 11pm for dinner, so is clearly setting out to be something different.
We went along for lunch within days of it first opening.
We met the team behind the venture, and it’s very much a family affair: chef Neal Dove (ex Cliveden) together with his wife Sarah, and her sister Caroline Baugh.
Offering a menu covering breakfast, lunch and dinner – they are also hoping to attract casual visitors dropping in for a tea & cake. They offer a full afternoon tea service, which is quite unusual outside the local hotels. On Sunday they offer traditional roasts, and will have fixed price menus for special occasions for example a Fathers Day Menu for this Sunday 19th June (2 courses £ 15.00, 3 courses £ 19.50)
Location is perhaps a tad unusual, being above the Steamer Trading Shop, but not affiliated to it. Entrance is either via the external door and up the stairs, or through the shop and up the grand staircase. In addition there is a lift from the shop floor.
The setting itself is quite impressive, not a surprise considering the building it is in. All high ceilings and very grand. In addition – if you sit by the window you end up with probably one of the best views from a restaurant table in Marlow .
We picked one item from the lunch menu, and a sandwich. As can be seen from the photo, the battered haddock and chips with mushy peas (£11.25) included some very chunky chips and presentation that included a miniature frying basket and individual ketchup.
The batter was crisp, the fish size generous, and although at first sight I was concerned about the quantity of chips – their chunkiness must have compensated because I felt plenty full enough.
Our other choice was the Roast Chicken Club Sandwich (£7.50) with added fries at £2. It came stuffed with chicken, bacon, mayo etc – so no complaints there!
Our son also tried the children’s menu cheese omelette and chips, at £4.
In short, we felt this was good food in a historic and unique location. It was quite quiet on our visit, but then this was literally a day or two after a very low key opening, so not a surprise.
It was maybe a bit pricier compared to say a standard cafe – eg £7.50 for a sandwich, though it was a whopper. Its probably fairer to compare against restaurant prices, where the £11.25 for fish and chips compares well against say the Marlow Bar and Grill offering at £15. The children’s meal had plenty for £4.
I can see the place could being ideal for business lunches given the setting and ambiance.
Despite being on the first floor, the Assembly Room could possibly become popular with mums meeting for coffee, and here’s why – the lift access from the shop leads to a lobby which is huge and perfect for leaving the buggy perhaps, and they have ample high chairs.
We will certainly revisit to give the afternoon tea a whirl sometime, and to try the evening menu.
So are there too many places to eat in town? Well, competition is no bad thing – and we welcome a new independent place that stands apart from the chains, offering something different – and wish them luck.
- 1 Market Square, Marlow, Bucks, SL7 3HH.
- Free wifi
- Telephone 01628 474 718
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- 9.30am -11pm Tuesday to Saturday