A gourmet restaurant serving meals worthy of a Michelin star is preparing to open in Stoke-on-Trent.
Lunar will provide a modern dining experience at World of Wedgwood in Barlaston from next month.
The 120-seat venue was set up by Stoke-on-Trent-born two-Michelin-star chef Niall Keating and the Great British Experience Company.
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It will celebrate the county’s best seasonal offerings and showcase some of Staffordshire’s finest culinary talent at the same time, reflecting the rich history and heritage of pottery.
The name is inspired by The Lunar Society, which was the 18th century social network, bringing together some of the most forward-thinking minds of the time. It was the heart of the Midlands Lights.
Josiah Wedgwood, a key member, was a pioneer in many fields, both within the pottery industry and as a social reformer.
Niall – who has been executive chef at the two-star Michelin Whatley Manor in Wiltshire for the past five years – said: “I’m incredibly passionate about Staffordshire, its rich heritage and amazing local produce.
“To have the opportunity to celebrate this while paying homage to the potteries, all 10 minutes from my home town of Stoke-on-Trent, is a dream come true.”
The 30-year-old is one of the few chefs in the UK to currently hold two Michelin stars.
A plethora of accolades already include the 2020 BBC Grand British Menu Champion and the 2018 Michelin European Young Chef of the Year.
Her distinctive cooking style inspired by Korean, Japanese and French cuisines will feature on Lunar’s menus.
Although Niall will oversee Lunar, the kitchen will be run day-to-day by head chef Craig Lunn.
Having known each other for over a decade, Niall and Craig have worked together in various kitchens including Whatley Manor, while Craig also has experience at Gordon Ramsay Royal Hospital Road in London and Alain Ducasse’s restaurants in Middle East.
Craig said: “Since we met, Niall has talked about opening a restaurant in Staffordshire. He’s so proud of where he comes from, and it’s an honor to be given the responsibility of head chef. in a place so close to his heart.”
The restaurant’s decor is inspired by the history of Wedgwood and the Lunar Society.
The color palette was influenced by Josiah Wedgwood’s experiments with color by oxidation.
There will also be artwork from artists and galleries in Staffordshire, including the Barewall Gallery in Burslem, which was the birthplace of Josiah Wedgwood.
A focal point of the 80-seat catering area will be a large, four-metre concrete chef’s table that seats up to 12 in a group or shared setting, with a window into the kitchen to watch the team at work.
The adjacent wall will be covered with a huge mural by local artist Ethan Lemon depicting the pottery skyline.
A large full moon overhead in the Lunar Bar will celebrate how the Lunar Society would gather under a full moon in the 1700s.
Additionally, the botanist’s room for private dining will accommodate up to 20 people – accessible through a secret library entrance. It was inspired by Erasmus Darwin, business partner of Josiah Wedgwood and founding member of the Lunar Society.
The Bubble Room area, separate from the main restaurant, is an informal space for drinks and light snacks, and pays homage to Joseph Priestley, another founding member of the Lunar Society, famous for many accomplishments including the invention of the ‘sparkling water.
Furniture has been carefully selected and recycled across the UK, with over 100 pieces from Wales, London and locally in Stoke-on-Trent.
Across the site there are also Wedgwood castings and moulds, as well as Wedgwood tableware and Waterford Crystal glassware for use in serving.
Craig Wilkinson, of the Great British Experience Company which he set up with Ed Myhill, said: “Our aim is to celebrate the revolutionaries who have started such change with their encounters of minds, ideas and actions in the Midlands, they are our inspiration.
“We aspire to add to their story while protecting our future through everything we do – from recycling furniture to working with sustainable suppliers.”
Stone’s Craig added: “We are extremely proud to have Niall on board, and believe that with his influence, Lunar is destined to be a huge success.
“We want Lunar to be something Staffordshire is proud of – with a reputation and reach across the country and beyond.”
Jemma Harrison, Head of World of Wedgwood, is delighted to welcome Lunar to the house of ceramics.
She said: “The restaurant space has been developed with incredible creativity and enormous respect for the heritage of the magnificent estate and the Wedgwood brand.
“The combined passion and experience of Niall, Ed and Craig brings something unique and very special to Staffordshire; it has been a real privilege to be involved in this project, and I am so excited to see the concept take hold. life at World of Wedgwood.”
A total of 20 jobs have been created and the restaurant is preparing to open its doors on November 25.
What is on the menu
Typical dishes on the Lunar Launch menu will include a mix of smaller (from £8) and larger plates (from £22) and dishes to share (from £30 pp).
Small dishes include:
- Wild mushroom congee with sea herbs
- Pumpkin tempura with tamarind and chilli
- Langoustine grilled with wasabi and cucumber,
Chawanmushi with shellfish
Roasted marrow bone, brioche
Loch Duart salmon, soy, trout roe, chives
Raw Orkney scallop, citrus fruits, candied ginger
Braised radish, white miso broth
Larger dishes will include:
Sharing options will include:
Desserts will include:
- Matcha millefeuille
- Spicy pineapple tart tatin
- Grilled nori fritters
soft serve ice cream
The drinks menu
The drink menu will combine classics with contemporary and experimental themes.
The team has spent the past few months traveling around Staffordshire meeting artisans, distillers, brewers and producers of wine, beer, gin, vodka and rum.
Cocktails will be available from £8, with wine from £24 (bottle) and £8 (glass) from a UK and international list.
To learn more about Lunar, visit lunarwedgwood.com.
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