When it comes to the game of unearthing hidden gems there really is no one quite like the FoodieBoys™️.
For example, who else would walk through Lichfield and go, “see those stairs? I reckon there’s a restaurant up there.” Me. I just had an inkling.
More interestingly, this unique knack of anticipating major food events actually goes back even further than Mid-April 2023.
You see, I ate Tom Shepherd’s food at Adam’s years ago, and I distinctly remember turning to my dining lady friend and saying:
“I predict this chef will have a Michelin starred restaurant in Lichfield one day. Also, he’ll get a course to the banquet on Great British Menu.”
“Wow. Which course will he win?” She enquired.
“I’m not sure, but someone called ‘Edward Gamble’ will be one of the judges.”
“He’ll be famous for being friends with James Acaster.”
The thing is, you’ve got no way of knowing whether any of this happened. You’ll just have to take my word for it.
The lady friend mentioned previously is now my wife, and she has an annoying habit of indulging in an annual ‘birthday’. I usually wine and dine her, like a good man should.
These days there is also a FoodieBaby™️ on the scene, which means two things:
- Going out for meals is hard work
- We have no money
So, for what might be the first time in my life, I saved up to go for a fancy meal rather than putting it on a credit card.
Enough of that
Stairs, important things. They allow a person to navigate vertical distances, downstairs and upstairs. I’ve actually got some stairs in my house so I’m pretty accustomed to how they operate, vital for this dining experience.
After ascending the stairs we were greeted by friendly faces. “I just want to check, is this a restaurant by Tom Shepherd or a famous, dead poet?” I asked?
“What?” the friendly face replied.
“The sign outside, it says ‘Upstairs by TS’.”
“And I was wondering if the TS refers to the chef Tom Shepherd or the dead poet TS Eliot.”
“That’s good news, because we’re here for lunch!” I screamed with delight and excitedly patted the friendly face on the shoulder.
The friendly face introduced us to another friendly face who took us to our table. I asked my wife if I should do the TS chat again but she said no, and seeing as it was her birthday I followed her instruction.
After perusing the absolute fuckery out of the menu, we decided to have the tasting menu. Here is is for your eyes to look at.
The snacks were fantastic, especially the tuna tartare croustade. I’ve confidently decided that snacks are the best thing about fine dining, I want / need someone to open a bar where you can sit and drink and just keep ordering little mouthfuls of joy.
The cod dish and the quail were the standouts of the savoury dishes. Here I could say something like the ‘the cuisson on the demersal fish genus Gadus was exemplary’ and you’d think, ‘wow this guy really knows his shit’ or ‘what a pretentious wanker’. Instead though, I’ll tell you that it tasted right nice and the sauce had a pleasing, curried warmth.
The teriyaki quail hit all my umami needs beautifully.
I nearly have to get off the bus now and need to chat about the dessert so we’ll jump to that.
This was the banana based dessert featured on Great British Menu, which seemingly should have won…
I was concerned it would taste synthetic, but it was anything but. The caramel and rum flavours brought it all together to make it one of the most pleasing desserts I’ve ever had.
I’m not going to lie, the bill (after not going to a Michelin starred restaurant for a couple of years) did nearly bring me to tears, but then I suppose you don’t have to have a cocktail to start, the extra course, extra dessert wine and a coffee to finish.
We descended the stairs and I thought about saving for the next birthday.