Tell us about your new project
I’m opening a 35-40-cover restaurant in the centre of Liverpool with my girlfriend. I get the keys this week and am hoping to launch a crowdfunding campaign to raise around £90,000 to help revamp the space. I want to put in a private dining room, a wine cellar and space to start making our own cheese. If all goes well the restaurant will open in mid-November.
What’s going to be on the menu?
We’re going to do a five-course (£40) and an eight-course tasting menu (£70) with drinks flights. The menus will change on a fortnightly basis but dishes are likely to include baked sea bream, smoked butter mushroom puree and a parma ham crumble; and pheasant braised in black bean sauce served with a bao bun, chilli jam, and a fried quail egg.
Sounds interesting, are you taking reservations?
We’re going to offer a ticketed system inspired by what they’re doing at London’s The Clove Club. It means you pay for your meal beforehand and then drinks on the night. Alinea in Chicago started the practice and many other restaurants have followed suit because about 20% of diners don’t bother phoning up to let you know if they can’t make their reservation. People are happy to buy train tickets months in advance of their journey but when it comes to going out for a meal they get a bit funny about it, but you can’t please everyone.
Where does the name Röski come from?
My girlfriend is called Rose so it’s a combination of our names. To name the restaurant Pietrowski would have been a bit of a tongue-tie. Rose is going to run the front-of-house as general manager while I’ll be in the kitchen.
Why open in Liverpool?
Rose is from Liverpool and it’s a city that doesn’t hold any Michelin stars. If I moved to London I’d be battling with 50 of the top restaurants in the UK. Liverpool is a great location, it’s next to Cheshire and it only takes three and a half hours to get seafood fresh from Scotland’s waters. Plus the people in Liverpool are so friendly.
Are you aiming to win Michelin a star for Röski?
I’ve never cooked for awards, but having won a star at The Treby Arms [in Devon] and seen what it can do for a restaurant I can’t say I won’t be aiming for it again. Hopefully with Röski we can push harder and achieve more than one star. If you’re in the third division of the football league you should always be trying to make it to the premiership.
So it’s just you and Rose behind the project?
Yes and I’ll be in the kitchen five days a week. It’s the only restaurant I’m going to have now. I’ve tried to do multiple outlets before and it didn’t work for me. I’m a chef that really wants to be behind the stove each day and I want people coming in to know that they’re eating my food.
You opened Brown & Bean in Plymouth earlier this year but left after two months. What happened?
I went in on a consultancy basis to help out two friends who weren’t experienced in the restaurant industry. I felt like they were trying to use my name to sell the restaurant and wasn’t comfortable with it. I wish them all the luck in the world but I want to do something with my own name on it. I’ll hold my hands up and say I've made some mistakes but I’ve learned a lot of lessons. Röski is going to be an amazing adventure for Liverpool, and me and Rose as well. I’m 35 years old now, I’m no spring chicken just trying to chuck everything on the plate like a lot of kids are doing at the moment. My dishes are a result of 19 years of work behind the stove.
To view Anton's crowdfunding campaign click here.