Born and raised in Upland, in San Bernardino County, Smillie has impressed New York critics during his time at Il Buco Alimentari. But he has longed to bring the ingredients and methods behind contemporary California cooking to the east coast, which he has now done with Upland, the newest addition to Starr restaurants, the company responsible for Alma De Cuba and The Continental.
The menu features classic and contemporary California-inspired dishes, such as Wiltshire Boulevard fish stew, Madoni Duck breast and roasted lamb with confit carrots, dates and lettuce. The dessert menu features cheeseboards, chocolate orange semifreddo and cheesecake Brulee. The wine menu is overseen by Chantelle Pabros, who was the director of L20 restaurant and president of VINERA, a restaurant and beverage consultancy.
Like the food itself, the interior of the restaurant reflects the bright, sunny California climate. Simple plaid table clothes, comfortable booths for seating and a full view of the bar and kitchen contributes to a laid-back atmosphere.
Homesick West Coasters, Californian cuisine, brunch
The two-minute tuna served with dandelion, breadcrumbs, pickled onion and anchovy vinaigrette is seared perfectly, giving it a completely unique flavour. The spaghetti is another unique take on a classic, made with chilled farro noodle, Maine sea urchin, scallion and sesame.