Marylebone Talks Shanghai Supper Club

We sat down with Lillian Luk, a Shanghai native living in Marylebone, to talk about her supper clubs, cooking classes and her ideal day in Marylebone. 

Tell us about your background.

I’m Shanghainese by origin and grew up in the US.

Have you always been interested in cooking?

Not always. I was more interested in eating and traveling.  At some point I wanted to recreate the food experiences I’ve had at the various places I’ve lived and traveled to, so that’s when I started cooking.

What brought you to Marylebone?

A piece of good advice! I was moving to London and asked a good friend for her recommendations on where to house hunt. She unequivocally said Marylebone for its reputation for good food, interesting shops and central location.  She couldn’t have picked a better place!

Have you found a different in Chinese dining and experiences, especially with so many restaurants opening?

The London food scene has gotten so much more exciting since we moved here. There have always been very good Cantonese restaurants here but in recent years more regional restaurants are popping up, and there’s more Chinese street food popping up.

Tell us about the Shanghai Supper Club and why you started them.

It is my way of sharing my passion for food with Londoners. Despite the flourish of Chinese regional cuisines, Shanghainese food is still underrepresented (some would even say absent) in London. So I decided to recreate the dishes my grandmother cooked when I was growing up in Shanghai. It focuses on seasonal and rather humble every day ingredients. What make the cuisine special is the time, patience and lots of skilled handiwork. It’s the ultimate slow food.

What is a typical meal?

It always starts with a selection of cold dishes, followed by a spread of hot ones featuring different cooking techniques like stir frying, slow cooking, steaming and pan frying. There is always a course of our signature Sheng Jian Bao, pan fried soup pork buns which is an iconic Shanghai street food. Then we finish with a Chinese dessert. I always plan the menu to follow what’s in season.

How would you spend an ideal day in Marylebone?

I have to have a proper cuppa of the Rare Tea Company brew to start the day. After school drop off, I would go to yoga with the lovely Shimmy at Indaba, followed by lunch at one of the neighbourhood restaurants depending on what cuisine I feel like on the day. If I still have time, I would  pop into Alberre & Odette on George Street to see if the lovely owner has any interesting pieces for me. Then I will pick up some goodies from Maison Kaiser before heading home to pick up the kids from school.

Read more about Lillian’s Shangai Supper Club HERE

The next Supper club is on 23-24 February 2017.