“A fish restaurant in Liverpool will never work”

When Chef Maurizio Pellegrini and Rosaria Crolla conceived the concept of a fish restaurant for Liverpool ten years ago, many of their customers at sister venue The Italian Club (just a stone’s throw down Bold Street) along with other experienced restaurateurs in the city said it would never work. Ten years on this week, Rosaria alongside her business and real-life partner Maurizio are celebrating a decade of success for The Italian Club Fish.

“We’re both feeling extra proud of what we’ve achieved especially given the fact that our idea was written off before we even opened the business. We generated a strong, loyal following after just a few months into the business with a wide-ranging customer base who have visited us from near and afar” said Rosaria.

‘Fish Club’ as it has become known to fans is essentially a ‘Fish Caffé’ – a marriage between Scottish and Italian styles, heavily influenced by the Crolla family’s heritage in Scotland and Picinisco and Maurizio’s home town on the Puglian coast. Rosaria attributes the success of Fish Club to several factors, the most important being the immense talent of Maurizio. 

“We’ve been fortunate too in the sense that our team have grown up with the business. This mirrors how the company which also operates The Italian Club Bakery has evolved…we’re very much a family and once you join the team, you’re encouraged by us to become part of that family. It creates a strong team bond which in turn creates a high level of consistency in customer service.”

All the dishes at Fish Club are prepared from fresh and the basis of the cooking is extra virgin oil, freshly prepared vegetables and fish stocks, that render the dishes light and healthy.

“We’ve had wonderful coverage in the media for our food both locally and by the likes of The Times’ Giles Coren and Olive Magazine by leading BBC & The Guardian food writer Tony Naylor amongst others. That’s been seriously humbling. We’ve also won Merseyside Regional Tourism’s Restaurant of the Year…all of which has helped us to sustain and enhance our offer and unique points of difference. Overall, of course, it’s been hard work but enjoyable too and it’s very satisfying to look back and reflect on what’s been a revolutionary period for Liverpool’s eating out, wining and dining scene. We are so proud to be the only dedicated fish restaurant in the whole of the city!”