Michelin-starred restaurant Upstairs by Tom Shepherd sits above the eponymous chef's father's jewellery shop in Staffordshire. Here, Tom and his team offer a seven-course tasting menu in the evenings and a three-course lunch menu in the day, in this relaxed yet refined 24-cover dining room. There is also a four-seat kitchen table, where diners can watch the magic happen up close. Shepherd has previously worked in some of the UK's best restaurants, including Adams in Birmingham, Restaurant Sat Bains and The Latymer. He also won the Acorn Award in 2018 (hospitality's 30 under 30).
A typical lunch menu at Upstairs will feature the finest British produce, seafood and meat, prepared in an elegant, simple manner. This might include braised pork belly with celeriac, salsa verde and apple or line-caught pollack with ratte potato, seaweed and vin jaune to start. Your main course might be a roasted plaice with butternut squash, kale and Bordelaise, or Creedy Carver chicken with leek, onion, mustard and cream. Finally, the dessert might feature components like rhubarb, pecan or even Horlick's.
The tasting menu is a little more adventurous. There you might see an Orkney scallop with salsa verde, apple and dashi, or carrot masala with cumin yoghurt, dukkah and coriander. This pre-starter course might then be followed by guineafowl with shiitake, jerez and onion. The main event is a heartier affair, so could feature highland venison with sausage, black garlic and Jerusalem artichoke. Both the lunch and tasting menus have vegetarian analogues, where ingredients like king oyster mushroom and squash take the place of meat and fish.
For the full experience, book the kitchen table. There, Tom and the team will not only serve your food to you directly, they will also explain each dish they create for you. Fun fact: a beautiful old beam that was past the point of being restored has been used by Tom in the mini boards on which the bread course is served.