[Liverpool] Roski

We’re happy to drive an hour from home for a “good” restaurant and we’ve been hoping to get to Roski for a while. And, it proved to be well worth it, even though the motorways were jammed and it took two hours. Of course, we rang them to let them know we were going to be late. They thanked us for doing so. Now, to say this is a “good” restaurant is something of an understatement. It starts with there being a nice room, with relaxed, modern decoration and comfy chairs – always important when you’re going to be sat somewhere for a couple of hours. And there’s staff who are at the top of their game, fully understanding what it means to be working in the hospitality business – friendly, knowledgeable but with a hint of formality. And there’s really good food – clever, inventive cooking of food that you want to eat, rather than feel you ought to eat, if you see what I mean. And a range of nice wines, by the glass – always handy as only one of us drinks alcohol.

There’s two menus. A multi-course tasting menu and a short carte. Most tables were opting for the tasting menu but, frankly, we find them a bit “heavy going”, these days and find it’s much more fun and satisfying to eat a traditional three courser. Even though this is a very short menu – just three starters and four mains – it was easy to find something we wanted to eat.

Bread came first. A lovely sourdough with a good crust. And Bovril butter which went perfectly. And, when we’d scoffed that lot, we were asked if we wanted more. Should have said “yes”, but didn’t. Then there’s some snacks. Or an amuse bouche, if you will. Well, not only were our bouches amused but the rest of us, as well. This was great fun – the chef’s take on the great British takeaway. So, there’s a single, triple cooked fat chip, topped with grated cheese, in a puddle of Wagyu beef chip shop gravy. And, an arancini of rice enclosing curried beef, with a lightly spiced curry sauce. Finally, your Chinese takeaway provides duck with hoisin sauce and cucumber – a grilled duck heart, slice of cucumber and dab of sauce.

Then it’s on to the starters. King prawns were a relatively new dish on the menu. There’s a couple of enormous ones, mainly shelled but with head and tail left on. They are room temperature, presumably deliberately so, rather than having hung around for ages. They are topped with a crumb – think a Chinese sesame prawn toast, blitzed up – and a very citrussy sweet and sour gel. For a texture contrast, each prawn is topped with a bit of pork crackling. The other plate is something of a signature dish for the chef – red cabbage Bolognese. Yes, it’s red cabbage. But it’s been very long cooked, sous vide, and then finely chopped. It’s packed with all the flavours you’d expect from a spag bol. You wouldn’t believe that it could, but it does.On the side, there’s dabs of green, white and red sauce to represent the colours of Italy’s flag – I think it was aioli, tomato ketchup (can’t recall the green one – maybe courgette).

If there’s been clever cooking with the starters, then the main courses seem much simpler. And, in that, is the cleverness. Fillet is never going to be as flavoursome as other steaks, but this one was as good as it gets. Onions were almost the star event – some long cooked and meltingly soft, others cooked till they were crisp. There’s also a little sauce and a slice of mushroom. Guinea fowl had been given a spice rub on its skin, so there was a little background hit of chilli. The rest of the plate was a take on sweetcorn – charred bits of corn, baby sweetcorn, sweetcorn puree. It could have all been a bit sweet but the spice and charring introduced a little balance of bitterness.

There’s only two desserts (plus a cheese option). One was a chocolate and cherry affair – ganache, ice cream, set chocolate, with a few cooked (?) cherries and dabs of cherry puree. Really light and fresh. The other was Anton Piotrowski’s winning dish from Masterchef, the Professionals. And, oddly, it was the dish out of the six plates we ate, that felt a little underwhelming. It’s a take on carrot cake, served up in a real flowerpot. Served warm, there’s a couple of different chocolate sauces in the bottom of the pot, topped with a sponge which you expect will taste of carrot, but doesn’t. And there’s a baby carrot stuck into it, to pull out and nibble, Bugs Bunny style. The pot sits on a plate which has a decoration of chocolate soil and a lightly spiced ice cream. It’s pleasant enough but you’d think this was a chocolate dessert, not a spin on carrots.

We finished with excellent coffee. It had been a lovely evening and it’ll be somewhere we come back to again – well worth the hour’s drive. Maybe one visit we’ll try that tasting menu.


Nice one, John
Shamefully still haven’t been.
For years this was a reliable bistro - Puschka -that i liked but never loved. Then before Roski opened there was all this stuff about having to pay in advance etc which soon got ditched - put me off a bit. But onto the list it now goes !
Incidentally did you go midweek or weekend and wait super busy ? Ive always found that room can be a bit noisy if full ?

Yep, you have to go!

We were there last Wednesday. It was about half full so no noise issues. I think that, at weekends, they only do the tasting menu.

My only issue about the evening was the 2 hours to get there which is sodding ridiculous for 35ish miles. Might mean we go at the weekend next time.

Only three years behind the times, I finally went to Roski yesterday.
A full 20 minutes from my house, as opposed to John’s two hour trek.

I’d heard mixed reviews which had put me off somewhat but was having lunch with a friend and it was her choice…so
First up the good - the room is still lovely and the staff are too.
We had a 2pm table so it was quiet ,about a third full, I would say (they were fully booked for two sittings that night, they told us ) which is perfect for me. I can imagine it might be a bit ‘bouncy’ sound wise if chocker.
There was a bit of a snag with a 2pm sitting though, if you aren’t there spot on time ( one of us was, the other wasn’t ) and then don’t immediately know if you want the full tasting menu or the Express. it was apparent ( as in, they told us so ) by 2.15 that they needed a decision as to which menu we wanted. We chose the full, which with hindsight was a mistake as were were then fair rattled through our fist three courses, until we ( noticeably to me as I was facing the room ) caught up with the other couple who had booked a lateish table for lunch. I did find this a bit dispiriting. If you are offering the full hit ( with price to match ) at 2pm don’t rush people through, or at least not in a way which is very noticeable. This is definitely unfortunate when you have also chosen to name your other menu Express. I get that they have , I assume, done that to appeal to the business lunch crowd, but it does feel a bit like you are being processed to suit the kitchen rather than experiencing the wonder and delight they produce, in the most life enhancing way they can conjure for you. Interesting too that there is no longer an a la carte menu at all… that Brexit bonus/Liz Tizz /Kwasi-crash in full effect or just focussing on the cash rather than the creativity ?

Anyway, how as the food ?
It was good. It was fine. If you are in Liverpool city centre for Eurovision next year and you want risk free high end or fine dining (or however you want to describe it) I would probably go there rather than the Art School or London Carriage Works. But was I blown away by anything we had ? No, I was not.

First course of six was bread, which came hotly pursued (aka with) starters. Bread was lovely sourdough (yum) with Marmite butter (yawn).

Starters were very mixed as my partner-in-lunch is pescatarian.
For me I had some charcuterie with cornichons ( eh ?) and then their take on a hash brown which was duck rillette, foie gras and caviar done up to look like a hash brown.
Why ? No idea why.
It came in a little paper packet with name of the restaurant on it, too.
Why ? No idea why. Do hash browns ever come in little takeaway type packets ? It was a bit odd - very rich as you would expect and it reminded me of bacon fry slices I used to have on toast as a kid on a Saturday morning. Probably not the effect they were after.
Over the way we had a salad of heritage tomatoes on one plate, and then mozzarella in a basil and dill oil. Simple, effective and way nicer (and lighter ) than what I’d been given. Pescatarians rule the waves.

Next up was their deep fried egg dish. Absolutely fine.

Then Eve f**ked up ( their name , not our reaction ). This is an apple with crab meat and avocado and some ? fermented apple? inside it. This was okay but there wasn’t much of it, and the apple itself was purely a receptacle. It was also a Pink Lady. Not local or seasonal or owt like that. Just kind of there and destined for the bin afterwards, I fear. Bit gimmicky that, lad.

Next up -sea bream - which saw a return of that basil/dill oil combo ( still nice, but twice in six courses ??) and then main for me was pigeon. Anjou pigeon we were told, which means nothing to me but it was very pleasant, accompanied as it was by squash and black beans and some charred corn and a decent sauce which pulled it together despite the total absence of carbs on the plate. Not very much of it, mind. Anjou pigeons must be very small.

Pudding was a peach tarte tatin with various creams. Either tarte tatin is your idea of decadent heaven to finish or its something you feel you could knock up yourself if pushed, or that folk on celebrity MasterChef do when they know they have to produce a pud at some point. It came with a matcha mochi ice cream on this side. My lunch companions has kids and tells me these are very much ‘the thing’ at the moment. As to whether they are ‘the thing’ that goes with a tarte tatin I am unsure.

All in all then, a good but not exciting or revelatory experience. As I’ve written t his I’ve looked at John’s review above and other menus online from the past from Roski. It strikes me that the menu is now shorter ( six courses rather than 8 or 9 previously for the same money ) and it is also less inventive than before. As John pointed out the core cooking is solid, the staff are lovely and this place is well worth a visit. When the best thing you eat is the mozzarella with basil and dill oil, though, you do wonder if there is a bit of coasting going on. Anyway its 85 quid each, plus drinks for the full menu or 55 for the Vroom ! Express menu.

Book now before the Eurovision ‘bounce’ kicks in :slight_smile:


I’m glad you got there at last, mate. Not so glad it wasnt a big WOW meal.

Scrapping the carte sounds like a Covid reaction - we’ve seen a couple of places we had on our list to try have gone down that route, so we’ve decided not to try.

As for Roski, we had every intent of periodic schleps down the motorway to eat there but never got back. It just seemed a bit too much schlep for what it was.

By the by, I think Anjou pigeons are farmed. So, more reliably tender but probably less flavoursome than wild ones. We went to farmers market south of Congleton last weekend. Apart from our usual stock-ups there, we scored pigeon and pheasant breasts.

The pigeon reminds me of a story my friend shared on Saturday.
Back in the 90s when there was a dearth of fine dineries in town, a place called The Lyceum opened on Bold Street - which was full on pianist, synchronised cloche lifting and the like.
She was in there once and they had pigeon on and someone, no doubt wanting to seem cultured and knowledgeable asked where the pigeon was from, only to be told… ‘the air’ .
Welcome to Liverpool :slight_smile: