Last weekend, Ian and I went to stay with our dear friends Liz and Paul over in Lichfield. It was Liz’s birthday so we we were always going to enjoy celebrating with her. This year though, we had an extra special meal out. Their son, Tom Shepherd is a chef. A superb chef in fact. His restaurant, Upstairs by Tom Shepherd, is Staffordshire’s first, and only Michelin-starred restaurant. It is located in the heart of the beautiful city of Lichfield above Paul’s jewellery shop- hence the name. (Paul made mine and Ian’s wedding rings as it happens). I have known Liz for more than 25 years and the last time I saw Tom in person was at their wedding when he was just 10 years old.
Recently Tom took part in the BBC series, The Great British Menu. If you haven’t watched it before, it’s brilliant. I think it’s still available on catch-up so I won’t spoil it. Suffice to say though that Tom did very well indeed.
Upstairs by Tom Shepherd
Upstairs is a Michelin-Starred restaurant with a lovely laid-back atmosphere. The decor is contemporary and the restaurant has a kitchen view- I always enjoy seeing the chefs beavering away. Each and every staff member was excellent- so knowledgeable about the food and wine; the two young sommeliers in particular were outstanding. It is clear that Tom runs a happy ship. He is calm, humble and very down to earth and he is rewarded with a hardworking loyal team. I must say too that the Tom you see on TV is the genuine Tom.
Eight-Course Tasting Menu
We had the eight-course tasting menu with wine flight.
First we had Snacks. Perfect bitesize morsels packed with a multitude of divine flavours.
The starter was Red Cabbage Gazpacho. The colour of this is stunning. Such a visually appealing dish that tasted as good as it looked. It was served with an English sparkling.
Tom makes his own bread and butters Genuinely, it was one of the nicest breads I have ever eaten. The Parker House roll was soft, almost like brioche. We actually asked for more it was so good.
Next up was Atlantic cod. If you have read any of my other food/restaurant blog posts, you’ll know that I adore fish. This was Tandoori-ed and it was perfect.
Teriyaki Guinea Fowl followed the fish. It was so tender and full of flavour, Heavenly.
After the guinea fowl we were treated to Herdwick Hogget Parts 1 and 2. These were consecutive lamb dishes cooked in two very different ways. Lamb is my least favourite meat and because of that, I never order it. I’m so glad I experienced these dishes and that’s why taster menus are so awesome. I would never have experienced this lamb otherwise.
The next course- the cheese course was an optional extra. We all opted for it: Stinking Bishop Tart served with Symphonie de Novembre. We made the right choice.
After cheese came the course that Liz was most excited about. The Transition was a Thai Green Curry but with a sweetness to it- the transition between savoury and sweet. It was so unusual- absolutely delicious and unlike anything I have ever had before. I can fully understand Liz’s excitement.
To finish, we had the now TV famous No Ordinary Schoolboy. During the heats of The Great British Menu, Tom got a perfect score. And he dressed up as Bananaman- you really must watch it. This may look like the most perfect banana, but it is actually the most perfect banana mousse draped in silky smooth chocolate. An utter triumph.
And to finish…picture perfect chocolates.
Meeting Tom Shepherd
Of course we wanted a photograph with Tom. After all, it’s not everyday one meets a Michelin Star chef.
Booking opens up several months ahead so if you are likely to be in the Lichfield area towards the end of the year or next year, it’s well worth visiting the Upstairs website to see if you can get a place. There’s a cancellation list too- it’s so worth the wait. Dining Upstairs really was a wonderful experience made all the more special by the fact I have heard through Liz and Paul how Tom’s career has progressed and the work he has put into his success. It was a privilege to eat his food and share the experience with our wonderful friends.
Like many bloggers and content creators, I use affiliate links. I identify these with an asterisk. I identify gifted items within the body of the post. I am a paid ambassador for STEPPER Eyewear and for MAC Eyewear. For links to my current clothes, accessories and homeware, click here. Thank you for reading