Love brought Anton Piotrowski to Liverpool, and it’s at the very heart of his new Georgian Quarter restaurant, even down to its name. Röski is a fusion of Piotrowski and his partner Rose’s christian name, a new restaurant on the site of Pushka, an old and much loved one – there’s the L-word again.
Now Rose and Anton, formerly executive head chef at the Michelin-starred Treby Arms near Plympton in Devon, are sharing the love with their customers.
“I was living down south in a small village in Devon, running a Michelin star restaurant and by chance I met Rose who’s from the city, and a year later, here I am. Love brought me to Liverpool.”
As well as the love of a good woman, Anton has also fallen for the city itself, and particularly its dining scene.
“It’s got an incredibly cool, diverse food scene which is only on the up,” he says. “I think it’s about to really be put on the culinary map as more and more exciting things are happening and people are really starting to recognise it.
“Then there’s the people – they really are some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met and after being here for just short of seven months now, I can honestly say it feels like home for me.”
Any particular favourite places to eat and drink?
“For me it has to be Etsu,” he says. “My girlfriend took me there for one of my first meals in the city and I was blown away by the freshness of their ingredients and the skill of the chefs. Truly some of the best sushi I’ve ever eaten.
“You can’t go wrong with a few drinks in Salt Dogs or El Bandito, and Alma de Cuba is always a favourite for date night. For a good night out with friends and a little taste of everything happening in Liverpool the Baltic Market is the place to go. The guys running it have done a really amazing job there.
“I recently had a really good night out at Ghetto Golf! There’s a reason It’s booked up for weeks in advance.”
What was it about the Pushcka site that attracted them?
“We stumbled upon Puschka within the first week of me moving here believe it or not,” Anton explains.
“It’s on one of the most beautiful streets in Liverpool with both Cathedrals on either end and immediately I loved everything about it. But, not wanting to jump into anything too quickly we continued looking around Liverpool, the Baltic triangle in particular as really exciting things are happening there at the moment. We must’ve viewed over 100 properties! But I just couldn’t get Pushka out of my head. And so after month of searching we went back and made an offer, which they accepted straight away, and then the hard work began.”
Röski is an intimate 26 cover restaurant, with a real focus on flavour.
“We specifically looked for smaller venues so as to keep the level of consistency so high,” Anton says. “Big flavours and taster menus that change with the seasons – and what we can get our hands on at the time. My style of food is massively inspired by my travels and my heritage.”
Dishes include whole roasted caramelised cauliflower, caramelised cauliflower purée, Parmesan custard, frozen apple, Garam masala curry oil – the latter was inspired by a recent trip Rose and Anton took to Israel.
On the sweeter side there’s white chocolate curd, Yorkshire forced rhubarb, and builders tea ice cream.
“And of course, some of my classics from Masterchef, like Pigeon Wellington and Röski’s Gone Carrots – Which is my take on carrot cake,” he says.
The restaurant was initially going to be a crowdfunded venture, but did not reach its £60,000 target.
“Not hitting our target didn’t impact our opening at all,” says Anton. “I think I rushed into in a little too quickly without having done my research. They take 10% of the target in the end and so for us it wasn’t worth it.
“Going to the bank ended up being a much better option. But it was amazing to see how many people got behind us and supported us, nonetheless. And that’s something I’ll forever be thankful for.”
For the best roasties you’ll ever eat – pick out the smallest Maris piper potatoes you can find, boil until the potato is light and fluffy, strain of all excess water and then dip each individual potato in sunflower oil.
In another pan warm up beef dripping till it comes to about 50c, basically till it’s melted and dip each individual potato in the dripping using a fork.
Place the potatoes into a tray and leave to set in the fridge overnight. So on Christmas Day all you need to do is whack them in the oven for 35 minutes at 200c. Season with salt and a tiny bit of caster sugar to finish.
Another tip is to use the excess fat that comes off the potatoes for your gravy. About 4 tablespoons of the fat should do it, and you’ll be left with the richest gravy you’ve ever tasted.