In a relativity short space of time, Upstairs by Tom Shepherd has achieved a glowing reputation. Locals lapped up the poised, modern British cooking. Getting a booking required a relative degree of stoicism. And then Michelin came knocking, proudly turning the restaurant into Staffordshire’s first and only one star place and cementing its reputation for offering top-quality local dining.
As you can probably guess from the name, Tom Shepherd is the chef rattling the pans. The Sutton Coldfield-born chef has a strong pedigree and was previously head chef at Adam’s restaurant in Birmingham, where he retained a Michelin Star and three AA rosettes for two years. He trained at New Hall Hotel in Walmley and went on to work under Michael Wignall at The Latymer and as development chef at Restaurant Sat Bains in Nottingham, both of which hold two Michelin stars.
Housed above his father’s jewellery shop in Lichfield, Shepherd has chosen a brown and grey colour palette for his 36-cover dining room (there’s also a kitchen table located directly in the kitchen for up to four guests) that gives it a warm and relaxed feel.
The restaurant offers a single, seven-course tasting menu in the evenings, with a shorter four-course option available at lunchtimes. Shepherd’s focus is on flavour-led, produce driven dishes that embrace the seasons. His time spent in some of the UK’s best kitchens is evident. The cooking is assured but unfussy, with each dish often comprising only two or three elements. And as you would expect, the presentation is impeccable, Shepherd instilling each dish with a refined precision that’s reflected in the taste.