Everything you need to know about food and drink in Liverpool.


Lu Ban

It's always the case that when you can't find something it's usually in the place you least expect it and in the case of Lu Ban, the new Chinese restaurant fronted by head chef Dave Critchley, that's certainly true. Hiding inconspicuously amongst the red bricks of the old Cains district, Lu Ban is inspired by the traditional, seasonal food of the Tianjin region and is absolutely nothing like your local Chinese.

Alongside an expansive main restaurant space there's a beautiful bar at the front as well as a number of different dining rooms depending on how fancy you are (or want to pretend to be in my case).

There's the private 'Beyonce' room, for example, that comes with its own entrance and exit if you're looking to avoid the paps.

There's the Chef's Table for those wanting to get right into the action.

A formal dining table- ideal for entertaining and impressing business contacts and colleagues.

Not forgetting 'The Food Lab' for those who like to get hands on and enjoy a more 'immersive' dining experience. 

There are a number of different menus presented in the 'xiao panzi'* (small plate) style but as we were dining with the guests of the fabulous booking site Open Table we were relieved of the pressure of ordering and were instead brought a selection of dishes to try -chosen by chef himself.

* not to be confused with xiao pang zi which I incorrectly translated as 'Little Fatty'- some kind of meme apparently

We started with cocktails and dumplings at the bar...

Dumplings and a Negroni
Before moving over to the tables and on to the main selection...

Watermelon Amuse Bouche/Prawn Cracker
Tea Cured Salmon/Master Wu's 5 Flavour Cucumber

Wok Smoked Chicken
You'll have to forgive me for not knowing the proper names of all these dishes- I may have had a few more 'pre-dinner' cocktails than I'm letting on to.

'Stretched' Prawns
The menu has been pieced together based around dishes that Dave and the team tried whilst exploring Tianjin but, whilst they're looking to introduce some more unusual dishes in the future, the current menu includes plenty of recognisable dishes with a little touch of Lu Ban flair. 

Gulao Sweet and Sour Pork/Matchstick Fries/ Noodles

Master Zhang's Beijing Duck

Spiced Pork Dumpling

Cherry Blossom
To find out more about Lu Ban or have a browse of their menu then you can find their website here.
Huge thanks as always to Lu Ban for having me and to Open Table for the invitation!


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