Chef Rob Palmer's fine-dining restaurant in Drury Lane, Solihull blends quintessential modern and classic British cooking techniques and flavours.
About Rob's Career
Rob grew up in Castle Bromwich, Solihull/Birmingham. After leaving Park Hall school at 16, Rob wanted to go straight into work as a chef and gained an apprenticeship at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole where he worked for four years. He then wanted a change from the large hotel environment and went to work at The Forest Hotel in Dorridge, Solihull, which at the time had always achieved 2 Rosette status from the AA guide. After just under three years he left to go and work at Hampton Manor as Junior sous chef under former Michelin starred chef Martyn Pearn.
Whilst at Hampton Manor Rob soon worked his way to sous chef and was instrumental in helping Martyn build a young dynamic and ambitious team of chefs. Then in 2014, Rob was given the Head Chef job after Martyn had moved. Two years later in 2016, although Rob had never worked in a kitchen that held a Michelin star, him and his team achieved the prestigious status of 1 Michelin star, the first ever for Solihull. In the same week they were also awarded 4 Rosettes from the AA guide, again the first for Solihull and Birmingham. Rob and his ever changing team continued to achieve the status of 1 Michelin star & 4 rosettes up until leaving in early 2021 to set up his first solo venture ‘Toffs by Rob Palmer’.
At ‘Toffs by Rob Palmer’ the food is ‘Modern British’ which uses a blend of modern and classic cooking techniques and flavours. Whilst working at Hampton Manor Rob had the privilege of being able to use the estates walled kitchen garden which produced an abundance of produce all year round. He developed his style around the seasons of the garden and the estate whilst also taking inspiration from multi culture Britain and also using flavours and seasonings from around the world whilst always making sure the core of each dish remains British. The food at ‘Toffs by Rob Palmer’ will continue this ethos and serve a 4 to 5 course menu at lunch time and a 7 to 8 course menu at dinner.
The name comes from an old Family nickname of Robs dad Kevin. Who grew up with 6 sisters and 3 brothers in Shard End, Birmingham. Whilst the 10 of them were growing up there was a brand of toffee called ‘Palmers Toffee’ which all the brothers then acquired the nickname of Toffee or shortened to Toff. Also if you were from Solihull you were sometimes referred to as 'posh', so the name just seems fitting for one of Solihull's Town centres first fine dining restaurants. The restaurant has a completely open plan kitchen with 26 seats including 6 at the kitchen bench which can be booked for 6 covers or individually that gives you a front row seat watching Rob and his brigade prepare your meal. The decor has and industrial (yet classy) feel to the interior to go along with Robs dads 40+ years working at Solihull's Land Rover factory. Also keeping it in the family on Robs wife's (Alisons) side, some of the upholstery in the restaurant has been done by her dad John Hearn who has 30+ years in the upholstery trade and has run his own upholstery business ‘A J Snapes’ in Kingstanding for over 25 years.