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Lu Ban opened its doors in Cains Brewery Village only last month, focusing on fine dining and regional Chinese food with authentic recipes and techniques from the Tianjin region.
And it’s more than a little bit special.
The high-end restaurant offers small plates dining options, tasting menus and Tianjin banquets; but more than that Lu Ban wants its customers to leave having had not only a great experience, but having learned about Tianjin – its food culture, its sense of community and its traditions.
It’s named after revered Chinese God Lu Ban, someone not known for his diligence or attention in class at school as a boy, but who started to work with a renowned carpenter, Bao Laondong, with a reputation for quality and inventiveness.
As his work became hugely sought-after Lu Ban created tools to help him deliver greater volumes at even greater quality, which are still in use today – the saw, the plane, the square, the drill, the shovel… and more. He is even credited with inventing the bicycle and his work ethic was such that his wife is said to have invented the umbrella so that he could continue to work in wet conditions!
It’s his focus on skills, innovation and helping others learn and develop which have inspired the restaurant and its ethos. (Head chef David Critchley trained under a master chef in China and is now passing on his skills with a 15-month cooking diploma course in a bid to find and encourage new chefs).
And if that doesn’t persuade you to pop down or put it on your Christmas wish list, maybe our seven sparkling reasons why we love Lu Ban will…
Home to Lu Ban is Stanhope Street, Cains Brewery Village, in the heart of the fast-growing Baltic Triangle. Once the well-worn factory and workshop, it’s now a thriving and cutting-edge destination that’s put fun into the independent Liverpool scene, with music, partying and dining at its heart.
Tianjin – about 80 miles from Beijing – is renowned for is distinct cuisine using seasonal ingredients, river produce, and sea food. It boasts many signature dishes and snacks and is famed for Baozi, a filled bun or bread-like dumpling, which you can find at Lu Ban Restaurant. Staff have partnered with the famous Tianjin School of Cuisine, the most famous cookery school, to create a stunning menu, and small plates allow diners to select a number of dishes to savour a range of flavours. They can be shared and vary in style from street food to fabulous fine dining.
Lu Ban has got a selection of stunning Festive Lunch and Dinner menus from £25 and £45 respectively per person until December 30; as well as a New Year’s Eve menu for £70 with an optional wine flight. The mouth-watering festive dinner menu includes jasmine and black tea-cured wild salmon; Wok Smoked Chicken – poached chicken breast, sugar smoke, sweetcorn, chilli oil; Gulao Pork – pork with pineapple, sweet peppers, tomato and rice vinegar; Street Vendors Straw Fries; Master Wang’s Noodles; Re He Suan – Tianjin style chicken noodle soup with vegetables, and Before The Rain – pear and ginger spiced crème brulee.
The Food Lab is an informal style of private dining for up to 12, with lots theatre and flair. Your Lu Ban chef will tantalise your taste buds in this immersive experience in which you get to help create some of the spectacular dishes on which you’ll feast!
You can watch the expert skill of your Lu Ban Chef as fabulous, fresh ingredients are transformed into the authentic dishes in front of you. Expect fanfare, passion …. and lots of delectable food.
For when you want something really special, the Chef’s Table is a close-up, private dining experience. For between two and six people, you get a rare insight into the workings of the Lu Ban kitchen: with private access, you and your guests are invited by the Chef to visit the kitchen, where you’ll meet the team and discover the delights of the day.
You can enjoy your first tasting course in the kitchen and then be escorted to the chef’s table where, while taking in the smells, noise and views of the kitchen, you can savour the dishes the chef will specially prepare and serve to you.
At Lu Ban you can enjoy the chef selection of small plates from your own banquet menu and drinks from the bar – or you can experience its tasting menu and carefully selected accompanying wines in its private dining Wine Room.
With a floor to ceiling glass wine cellar, you can opt for privacy by drawing the sumptuous curtains or enjoy the view from your exclusive area. Wines are matched to the pre-selected tasting menu, where your knowledgeable server will describe the flavours and wisdom behind each pairing. (For up to 14 people).
An intimate dining experience with exclusive use for you and up to 11 guests away from other diners, you can enjoy the luxury of the Tianjin Private Dining Room. Here you can choose from either a traditional Tianjin menu of hot and cold dishes, soup and dumplings or alternatively enjoy 10 courses of Tianjin dishes, presented as a tasting menu and paired to a selection of wines from across the globe.
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