The Italian Club Fish
Restauranteur Rosaria Crolla’s family left the mountain village of Picinisco to the south of Rome for Glasgow, setting up fish and chip shops such as Vittorio’s. Her chef-patron husband Maurizio Pellegrini hails from Puglia’s Bisceglie in the far south east of Italy, where fish is on the menu every day.
“We eat fish as part of our staple diet and the preparation and cooking of fish is a huge part of our regional culture,” says Maurizio. “I wanted to bring a bit of Puglia to Liverpool.” At the fish caffè – one of three The Italian Club outlets in the city centre – ingredients are sourced locally for freshness, but to stay true to the original dish, Maurizio finds British alternatives that are as close as possible to the Italian.
All dishes are prepared from scratch, so don’t expect fast food, but do expect tasty, light and healthy, with all fresh ingredients, extra virgin olive oil and homemade fish stock. After stuzzichini nibbles and breads from The Italian Club Bakery, you can tuck into the likes of Carlingford Loch oysters (live or oven baked), mussel pots, Scottish king scallop gratin and homemade Belhaven hot smoked salmon fishcakes. Risottos include a black squid ink number with crispy calamari; fresh egg pasta dishes include taglioni with sauteed shrimp, squid and smoked haddock in a cream, cheese and egg sauce.
There’s catch of the day and whole lobster, and there is, of course, the family recipe beer-battered fish and chips. And if you’re not pescatarian, fear not, there are plenty of non-fish dishes such as steak frites with peppercorn sauce and breadcrumbed chicken Milanese, along with The Italian Club’s famous pasta favourites of lasagne, spaghetti carbonara and oven-baked potato gnocchi with tomato and basil sauce (vegan) and Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses (vegetarian).
For sweet treats, expect a selection of daily-baked homemade cakes, pastries and biscuits from The Italian Club Bakery.