Rodney Street, Liverpool
Review by Natasha Young | Eclectic British | £££ | 16 Rodney Street, L1 2TE | 0151 708 8698
Demanding a detour from the streets catching much of Liverpool’s foodie footfall these days, the restaurant formerly home to long-running, popular Puschka surely needed something special to keep attracting diners.
Luckily ‘MasterChef: The Professionals’ winner Anton Piotrowski was on hand to step into the Rodney Street space with Röski.
The restaurant’s website promises “big flavours, big smiles, and great service” along with a “super relaxed atmosphere,” several of which were ticked off the list immediately after we arrived.
As with the laid-back and unpretentious setting, simplicity seemed to be the key with food options. We were offered a choice of four taster menus – a five-dish choice and its vegetarian version (both £55), or a seven-dish choice and its meat-free alternative (both £75).
My dinner date and I were won over by the sound of a fine dining take on scouse and the mysterious ‘Roski’s got game’, both settling on the meaty five-dish menu.
As we awaited the main event we were treated to a snack which, as our server explained, would bring a “taste of Thailand”. Not only was the Southeast Asian suggestion music to our ears as the ‘beast from the east’ loitered outside, but the food was a colourful delight to look at and even more enjoyable to eat. A selection of carrots was accompanied by a curry kick and powdery goats milk which melted away in the mouth.
An amuse-bouche followed in the form of mushroom ragu with aged parmesan and wild garlic – a beautifully creamy, perfect combination.
As with many dishes we experienced during the evening, the flavours gently lingered until the next plate arrived, keeping our taste buds satisfied.
Next up was the start of our menu proper – scouse with smoked vegetables, a smoked bacon dumpling and beef gravy. Once the lid was lifted we were met with a picturesque stack of ingredients and an amazing aroma.
The menu’s buttermilk bread with roast onion butter accompanied it as we were assured that “dipping is encouraged”.
Whilst it may have looked somewhat different to your ma’s classic bowl of scouse, Röski’s version was no less hearty and comforting. The bread’s slightly blackened crust added to the depth of flavours.
The roasted cauliflower with caramelised cauliflower, parmesan custard, parmesan tuile, curry oil and frozen apple came next.
With just a few core ingredients cooked in multiple ways, this spectacular twist on cauliflower cheese was a prime example of Röski’s clever cooking, impressing with an array of textures rather than overwhelming with too many flavours.
“An accompanying hint of the wilderness was brought to life with liquid nitrogen, creating a magical smoking centrepiece on the table as we ate.”
We waited with anticipation to find out what the centrepiece of the ‘Isle of Skye’ served with celeriac and marmite would be, and it didn’t disappoint. A blowtorched lobster claw was packed with all the freshness you’d expect from seafood and its meaty texture was complemented by the warmth of its accompaniments.
‘Röski’s got game’ was revealed as a surprisingly delicate plate of tender venison, served alongside butternut squash jus, a subtle piece of black pudding and cabbage and, again, it was delicious.
Despite red meats and rich flavours, Röski’s portions were just right and perfectly balanced. There was no drowsy food coma looming as dessert arrived and I couldn’t wait to tuck into the black forest gateau-style dish.
Estate chocolate – again in a various forms including mousse, brownie and brittle crispy pieces – alongside boozy cherries and icy goats milk was an indulgent hit with my sweet tooth.
An accompanying hint of the wilderness was brought to life with liquid nitrogen, creating a magical smoking centrepiece on the table as we ate.
To round off our feast it seemed only right that we sample the dish made famous by chef Anton’s stint on ‘MasterChef: The Professionals’ – ‘Röski gone carrots’ (available for a £10 supplement).
From its fun presentation – a plant pot with a carrot growing from chocolatey, popping candyinfused ‘soil’ – to its delightful layers of frosting and cake, it was certainly the most memorable carrot cake I’ve ever tried and a triumphant finale to our evening of fabulous food.
Röski is an extravagant treat but, in my view, its definitely worth cutting out a couple of takeaways or pricey lunches to make a special night of it there, as it certainly delivers on food with the ‘wow’ factor and its promise of a friendly, relaxed experience.
Both the cauliflower and ‘Röski gone carrots’ – it’s too tough to choose just one!
Check out our food pictures from Röski on Instagram: @ym_liverpool