Jonathan Schofield loves the food and discovers the morel of the story

Roski on Rodney Street is one of the best fine dining experiences in the North West.

The food is elegant, refined, and complex. The service is warm, efficient and easy-going. The small dining room is a simple canvas for the excellent food and service and is mainly wood and mellow paint tones. There’s just a hint of luxury with the light fittings.

The whole experience is calming, tranquil. This seems apt as Roski is hosted in a Georgian town house on one of the finest Georgian streets in the country. The architecture recalls the Age of Enlightenment and its clear-headed objective view of the world rather than our self-obsessed subjective ‘lived experience’ age. 

Yeah I know, I sometimes get philosophical while munching. 

A chestnut mushroom soup was at once so earthy and rich I thought I’d fallen face first onto a forest floor in autumn

This is not an inexpensive dining out occasion but where is for fine dining? There’s a set tasting menu of £115 with an optional wine pairing at £75.

For booze we had a bottle of the Chianti Classico from Casa Brancaia because all the fandango with thimbles from a wine pairing option makes my nerves jangle. The official description from Casa Brancaia says the wine has ‘in the mouth a lovely freshness and sapidity combined with young and crisp tannins.’ (Er…'in the mouth’, as opposed to on the floor one supposes.)

I had to look ‘sapidity’ up. It means ‘possessing a strong, agreeable flavour’. Spot on but note to self, never use the word again, sounds the sort of thing a snobbish oenophile would wallow in like a hippo in mud.

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The simple, effective interior Image: Confidentials
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The exterior in the dark Image: Confidentials

Let’s start with the spectacular dishes and let’s start simply as with that interior. A chestnut mushroom soup was at once so earthy and rich I thought I’d fallen face first onto a forest floor in autumn. Apparently there was some dill in there too (I was told) but it was the overwhelming mushroomy and chestnut nature of it that stunned, all lightly delivered and frothed up. I wanted a bucket of the stuff to take home. 

The beef tartare under a lettuce with circles of apple and crispy shallots was artful in the extreme. There was a gentle potency to the dish and displayed the best of Roski here with multiple flavours softly crowding the palate. The timber of the wooden spoon carried no taint affecting the food fortunately and provided a happy little platform for the grub. 

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Egg (see below) on the left and a chestnut mushroom soup the writer's in love with Image: Confidentials
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Beef tartare and its gentle potency Image: Confidentials

Another spectacular success was the main (in other words a dish a bit larger than the others). This was a chicken breast with cleverly inserted chicken morel mousse. This was gloriously cooked, delicate and distinctive, refuting all notions about chicken delivering bland flesh. As our restaurant manager, the excellent Ashley Haddon said, this is a brave choice to put on a fine dining menu but it works so well here. 

The fact the meat could be bunched up with an absolutely stonking foie gras only made the dish more joyous. And let’s talk about that morel mushroom: it took the morel high ground. There was also an eighth of a leek on the plate with a crumb pink peppercorn and pork scratching bits and bobs. I didn't really notice the leek, it was all about the morel, the foie gras and the cluck cluck. 

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The spectacular 'main' Image: Confidentials

The keema lamb black rice was another piece of excellence with a really good tomato sauce and a biryani edge. The spiced monkfish with another crop of flavours and some particularly moist and welcome cucumber was not quite up to that standard. Nor was the asparagus, paired spears on a potato mousseline, the latter perhaps being overly refined; of course the asparagus was perfectly cooked because this is what Roski delivers, everything seems well-timed.

A Burford egg, which came with the chestnut mushroom soup, was all tender poached egg with a cheesy mornay sauce, I think. It was a cunning collation but more about artifice than flavours. Burford eggs, by the way, are supposed to have an especially rich yolk. Wikipedia can be very useful. 

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Monkfish to the left, the amazing rice to the right Image: Confidentials
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Asparagus and a very refined potato mousseline Image: Confidentials

We’d earlier treated ourselves to a platter featuring 10 grams of Oscietra caviar with crackers, and a tempting yoghurt plus a lemon for good measure. The nutty yet fishy caviar was exquisite, the crackers good but not for me the combination with the yoghurt.

Nor was the bread a highlight, although the cheesy focaccia was all right, but there was sourdough involved and I’m prejudiced against its overuse. I wouldn’t mind if there were to be a three year international moratorium imposed on sourdough upon pain of death. One of the butters that was supplied, the beef dripping, was bloody good though. 

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Caviar, yes, oh yes, always good Image: Confidentials
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Bready things including bloody sourdough Image: Confidentials

The dessert platter seemed a tad over complicated but the banana split was fun and the sundae was entertaining as we dug it out with our spoons. 

The petit fours was vast and frankly we couldn’t get anywhere near finishing it but the jammy madeleines mighty probably win an international madeleine competition. They were superb while more entertainment was supplied by the candy floss. With these I had a fine glass of a rich Hungarian dessert wine, Tokaji Sauska, which helped move things along. 

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An overcomplex dessert but entertaining Image: Confidentials
2024 03 22 Roski Liverpool
The madeleine's spread like wings were superb Image: Confidentials

I really enjoyed this meal. It was rich in its flavours yet, as stated before, carried such elegance. It is very expensive, more than £400 for our meal, but definitely worth filling up a piggy bank if you love your dining out and are seeking a special occasion.

I've not mentioned the restaurant is called Roski after Anton Piotrowski who was once a co-winner of Masterchef and comes from nowhere near Liverpool but fell in love with the city and one of its locals who is called Rose. The name of the place comes from a combination of Rose and Piotrowski. 

There's a lot a love in the preparation of the meal we had and the way the staff serve guests and in the ambience of the room. This is one of most comfortable and enjoyable fine dining experiences I've had since Covid. 

In any visit you have to admit the food certainly has a lot of sapidity - damn I've used that word after all. 

Roski, 16 Rodney Street, Liverpool, L1 2TE

Roski is on Confidential Guides

Recommended by Confidential Guides

The Scores

All scored reviews are unannounced, impartial, and ALWAYS paid for by and completely independent of any commercial relationship. They are a first-person account of one visit by one, knowledgeable restaurant reviewer and don't represent the company as a whole.

If you want to see the receipt as proof this magazine paid for the meal then a copy will be available upon request. Or maybe ask the restaurant.

Venues are rated against the best examples of their type. What we mean by this is a restaurant which aspires to be fine dining is measured against other fine dining restaurants, a mid-range restaurant against other mid-range restaurants, a pizzeria against other pizzerias, a teashop against other teashops, a KFC against the contents of your bin. You get the message.

Given the above, this is how we score: 1-5: saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9: sigh and shake your head, 10-11: if you’re passing, 12-13: good, 14-15: very good, 16-17: excellent, 18-19: pure class, 20: nothing's that good is it?

  • Food 8.5/10

    Bread 6.5, butters 7.5, mushroom soup 10, Burford brown 7.5, beef tartare 8.5, asparagus 7, monfish 7.5, black rice 9, stuffed chicken breast 10, dessert 7, petits fours 7

  • Service 5/5

  • Ambience 4/5