Inside Stoke-on-Trent’s first Michelin-style gourmet restaurant which opens today

It’s the new, modern fine-dining restaurant opening in Stoke-on-Trent today – and it’s been full for weeks.

Lunar brings an upscale dining experience to the world of Wedgwood, Barlaston.

Its name is taken from the 18th century social network The Lunar Society of which Josiah Wedgwood was a key member.

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The 120-seat venue has four different dining rooms and a bar.

The focal point is a large aerial full moon inside the Lunar Bar that celebrates how lunar society would come together under a full moon in the 1700s.

Then, inside the 80-seat restaurant area is the chef’s table. The four-meter concrete table seats up to 12 people in groups or individually, with a window to the kitchen to watch the team at work.

There is also space for informal drinks and light snacks in the Bubble Room. It pays homage to Joseph Priestley, another founding member of the Lunar Society, famous for many accomplishments including the invention of sparkling water.

The living room then leads to the private dining room in the botanical garden which can accommodate up to 20 people and is only accessible through a secret library. It was inspired by Erasmus Darwin, Wedgwood’s business partner and founding member of the Lunar Society.

It was created by two-star chef Niall Keating, who grew up in Newcastle, and the Great British Experience Company.

Niall is one of the few chefs in the UK to currently hold two Michelin stars.

The 30-year-old said: “I’ve always wanted to do something at home in Stoke-on-Trent.

“It means more to me than any other distinction to bring something back to the area and do something worthwhile for the county.

“Unfortunately, I feel like the county has had a bad reputation in recent years and wanted to bring something exciting here.

“It’s an amazing feeling to have a vision for something and then it comes to fruition.

“It’s very special for me to be able to have a restaurant in Stoke-on-Trent that my family can go to and that they can be proud of.

“I told every chef I used to work with that I would bring something back to Stoke-on-Trent someday and now I’m here to do it.”

The Lunar Bar offers a cocktail menu inspired by the Lunar Society. It offers drinks called The Wedgwood, Etruria, and Josiah’s Julep.

The menu offers a selection of small dishes to start, followed by a main course or to share. A standout dish is the Staffordshire clay baked chicken which is baked in clay and opened at the table.

The Botanical Garden Room inside Lunar

There is also a selection of dishes to finish off.

Niall thinks the menu brings something different to Staffordshire.

He added: “It will be a challenge for the area, but the restaurants have to be a challenge. It’s easy to follow a formula and have pieces on the menu that you know people are happy to eat, but we let’s try to do more than that.

“Lunar is pushing the boundaries of hospitality and catering in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.

“It will make Staffordshire a destination, we can bring people to the area. We are doing something special.”

All food and drinks will be served on Wedgwood tableware and Waterford Crystal glassware.

And the ingredients come from local suppliers in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.

The walls are also adorned with artwork by local artists which will be available for purchase on the Lunar website.

The bubble room inside Lunar
The bubble room inside Lunar

Lunar was created through a collaboration between Niall and the Great British Experience Company. It is owned by Craig Wilkinson and Ed Myhill.

Craig, 39, of Stone, said: “It has to be an experience for our customers throughout the restaurant.

“It’s about celebrating the creative community of Staffordshire.

“We are full until the end of the year and we hope it will be a success.”

Lunar is open Thursday and Friday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 11:30 p.m.

Book through the site here.

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