Award-winning city centre restaurant inspired by Great British Menu chef closes | The Sun

Award-winning city centre restaurant inspired by Great British Menu chef closes | The Sun

November 15, 2023

AN award-winning restaurant run by a Great British Menu chef is closing its doors for good.

The Chinese restaurant Lu Ban in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle first opened in 2019 under the leadership of chef Dave Critchley.

It won a Gold Award at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence in 2022 and also named Restaurant of the Year at the Liverpool City Region Tourism Awards.

The restaurant, which specialised in the dishes from China’s Tianjin region, gained a strong reputation thanks to its chef’s table experience where diners had the food prepared in front of them.

Customers could also enjoy a fine dining with Critchley who has appeared on the BBC’s popular The Great British Menu in 2021.

Diners whose budget didn’t stretch quite so far as fine dining could also select popular Chinese favourites from the restaurant’s standard menu and a bottomless brunch.

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The owners of Lu Ban put the reason for its closure down to the cost of living crisis and increasing financial pressures on running the restaurant.

A spokesperson for the restaurant said in a social media post: "We regret to inform our customers that, after careful consideration, we have made the decision to permanently close Lu Ban restaurant.

"The closure was not a decision we have taken lightly but was due to a combination of factors.

“The ongoing cost of living crisis has reduced footfall to what was always a niche concept.

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"This coupled with increasing financial pressure of running and utility costs has rendered the business unsustainable.

“We apologise for the inconvenience this will cause to customers whom have plans to visit in the near future and where deposits have been paid these will be returned."

The news comes during a tough time for the restaurant business.

The Doncaster location of Frankie and Benny's shut its doors last month.

Forty other branches of Frankie and Benny's have closed over the past year after lockdown and inflation hit the chain hard.

Byron Burger also closed its restaurant in George Street, Oxford at the end of last month according to staff.

Byron collapsed back in January and announced the immediate closure of nine sites.

The move left more than 200 employees out of a job.

The hospitality sector as a whole has been struggling to bounce back after the pandemic, only to be hit with soaring energy bills and inflation.

Some well-known retailers have shut a handful of branches, while others have disappeared from the high street for good.

Italian dining chain Prezzo revealed plans to shut 46 restaurants back in April as a result of soaring energy and food costs, putting 810 jobs at risk.

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TRG, which owned Frankie & Benny's, Chiquito and Wagamama, revealed that it would shut down around 40 sites by April 2024.

Plus, a family favourite restaurant chain has delayed its plans to open new restaurants following two closures.

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