The Great British Experience Company (TGBEC) is delighted to announce that, in partnership
with Staffordshire-born chef Niall Keating, they will be opening a new restaurant - Lunar - at
the home of Wedgwood in Barlaston, near Stoke-on-Trent.
The concept at Lunar is a modern dining experience that is centred around great food, but it
will also reflect the rich history and heritage of the Potteries and the industrial revolution,
whilst also focusing on a sustainable future.
The restaurant’s name - Lunar - was inspired by the legendary Lunar Society, a supper club
for the Midlands enlightenment, of which Josiah Wedgwood was a founding member. Craig
Wilkinson and Ed Myhill of TGBEC with Niall wanted to celebrate the rich legacy that Josiah
Wedgwood and his fellow ‘Lunatics’ began over 200 years ago. Membership included many
forward thinkers, entrepreneurs, scientists, philosophers, poets and inventors.
Niall Keating has been Executive Chef at Whatley Manor in Wiltshire for the past five years,
where The Dining Room holds two Michelin stars. Prior to that, he quickly climbed the culinary
ranks by working in renowned kitchens across the world – including Restaurant Sat Bains (2*)
in Nottingham, Benu (3*) in San Francisco, and Kong Hans Kælder (2*) in Copenhagen.
As one of only a handful of chefs in the UK to currently hold two Michelin stars, Niall’s
impressive career has earned him a reputation as one of the leading chefs in the country
today – and he has only just turned 30. A plethora of accolades already include BBC’s Great
British Menu Champion of Champions 2020 and Michelin Young European Chef of the Year
His distinctive cooking style, inspired by Korean, Japanese and French cuisines, will bring a
progressive and creative instinct to Lunar’s menus. A passion for sustainability will also
encourage strong environmental and ethical standards across the supply chain and
throughout the restaurant, as is a huge priority at Whatley Manor.
“I’m incredibly passionate about Staffordshire, its rich heritage and amazing local produce,”
enthused Niall. “To have the opportunity to celebrate that whilst paying homage to the
Potteries, all ten minutes from my hometown of Stoke-on-Trent, is a dream come true.”
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 at Whatley Manor, while Craig also has experience at Gordon Ramsay
Royal Hospital Road in London (3*), and restaurants under Alain Ducasse in the Middle East.
“Ever since we met, Niall has talked about opening a restaurant in Staffordshire. He is so
proud of where he comes from, and it’s an honour to be given the responsibility of head chef
at a place so close to his heart,” said Craig.
Typical dishes on the Lunar launch menu will include a mix of smaller (from £8) and larger
(from £22) plates and sharing dishes (from £30pp). Highlights range from Wild mushroom
congee with sea herbs to Tempura pumpkin with tamarind and chilli, and Grilled langoustine
with wasabi and cucumber, while Bigger Plates will include Poached lemon sole with nashi
pear and yuzu kosho; and Glazed beef brisket with crispy shrimp and pomme purée. Sharing
main course options will feature Staffordshire clay-baked chicken with treasured rice;
Roasted tranche of day-boat turbot with truffle and caviar; and Meat from the dry-ageing
fridge, cut to order. Desserts will include Matcha mille-feuille; Spiced pineapple tart tatin; and
Toasted nori doughnuts.
The drinks list will combine classics with contemporary and experimental themes. The team
has spent the last few months travelling across Staffordshire to meet artisans, distillers,
brewers and growers of wine, beer, gin, vodka and rum, to create a strong drinks repertoire
for Lunar. Cocktails will be available from £8, with wine from £24 (bottle) and £8 (glass) from
a concise British and international list.
The décor of the 120-seat overall space has been inspired by the history of Wedgwood and
The Lunar Society, with a core focus on upcycling and creative artistry. The colour scheme has
been influenced by Josiah Wedgwood's experimentations with colour through oxidation.
Artwork is from local artists and galleries in the area, including Barewall Gallery in Burslem,
which was Josiah Wedgwood’s birthplace.
A focal point of the 80-seat restaurant area will be a large, four-metre concrete Chef’s Table
for up to 12 as a group or for individuals to share, with a window into the kitchen to watch
the team at work. Covering the adjacent wall will be a massive mural by local artist Ethan
Lemon depicting the skyline of the Potteries.
A large, overhead full moon in the Lunar Bar recalls and celebrates how the Lunar Society
would meet under a Full Moon in the 1700s. Additionally, The Botanist’s Room for private
dining will accommodate up to 20 - accessed by a secret bookcase entrance, it was inspired
by Erasmus Darwin, Josiah Wedgwood’s business partner and fellow founding member of The
Lunar Society. The Bubble Room area, separated from the main restaurant, is an informal
space ideal for drinks and light snacks, and pays homage to Joseph Priestley, another founding
member of The Lunar Society, famed for many achievements including the invention of
The furniture throughout has been carefully selected and upcycled from all over the UK, with
over 100 pieces from Wales, London and locally in Stoke-on-Trent. Across the venue there
are also Wedgwood casts and moulds, as well as Wedgwood tableware and Waterford Crystal
glassware to be used for service.
The Great British Experience Company was forged during the pandemic by local friends Craig
Wilkinson and Ed Myhill, who have worked on events all over the world. Upon their return to
Staffordshire, they decided to bring their skills and experiences back to their home county,
and have partnered on the Lunar project with Niall, who is a major shareholder.
Craig Wilkinson explained: “Our aim is to celebrate the revolutionaries that began such
change with their meetings of minds, ideas and actions in the midlands, they are our
inspiration. We aspire to add to their history while protecting our future through everything
we do – from upcycling furniture to working with sustainable suppliers.”
Jemma Harrison, Head of World of Wedgwood, stated: “We are delighted to welcome Lunar
to Barlaston. The restaurant space has been developed with incredible creativity and
enormous respect for the heritage of the beautiful estate and the Wedgwood brand. The
combined passion and experience of Niall, Ed and Craig brings something unique and very
special to Staffordshire; it’s been a real privilege to be involved in this project, and I’m so
excited to see the concept come to life at World of Wedgwood.”
As Craig Wilkinson further commented: “We are immensely proud to have Niall on board, and
feel that with his influence, Lunar is destined to be a great success. We want Lunar to be
something that Staffordshire is proud of - with a reputation and reach across the country and
Address: Lunar - Wedgwood Drive, Barlaston, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire ST12 9ER
Opening Hours -