Italian chef-restaurateur Franco Mercuri is building on his success in the city after opening up a second restaurant in Liverpool ONE’s Chavasse Park.
Prego, which serves modern Italian cuisine is the second business venture for the Italian born restaurateur and it is already proving a hit with one famous diner.
Sex & the City star Kim Cattrall who is currently starring in ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ at Liverpool’s Playhouse has acquired a taste for Prego’s modern Italian cuisine, having not only visited the restaurant a number of times but has also ordered her favourite dish of Linguine Vongole to enjoy directly on the set.
Set amongst five acres of parkland and boasting an outdoor dining terrace, the restaurant’s regional and classic dishes are influenced by Franco who has over 26 years experience in the hospitality industry, inspired by his travels from all over Italy.
The Liverpool ONE restaurant follows on from the success of Franco’s Aintree restaurant, which opened in 2008. The menu, which in Franco’s own words ‘acts as a food map of the key food regions in Italy’, consists of dishes such as the Orecchiette Cimedirape with pasta from Puglia, sauces from Sicily, and breaded veal scallop from Milan, along with a selection of olives and charcuterie from all over the sun kissed region.
Franco says: “At Prego we understand that exceptional food is the secret to a great evening. Provenance and traceability is key. We make sure that all our produce can be tracked back to its origin, whether it is the farm that our beef was reared from, to the vineyard our olives come from.”
Every aspect of the restaurant has been looked into with minute detail. Prego is one of the first restaurants in the North West to use the exclusive ‘hybrid’ Josper charcoal grill oven that is able to grill meat, fish and vegetables whilst ensuring that none of the natural moisture and flavour of the food escapes.
Franco continues: “The Josper Grill adds something completely different to our food offering, not only allowing me to cook a wide range of meat and fish but also cook them to perfection. Most grills dry out the meat that is cooked on them but the Josper grill gives perfect heat control ensuring that everything cooked on it has a delicious intensity of flavour.”
Inspired by the authentic dining experience in Southern Italy, Prego offers a relaxed atmosphere, attentive service and that ‘personal’ touch.
“I am bored of fine dining Italian restaurants that are so formal they make the diner feel uncomfortable. At Prego we want to reflect our passion for great food and service by greeting customers with a warm Italian welcome and giving them a relaxed and thoroughly enjoyable experience.
“The other day a lady turned up at the restaurant asking for the recipe for one of our dishes that her husband had tried to recreate at home. We didn’t just write it down, we invited her into the kitchen for a lesson! At Prego, it’s all about the small things that make all the difference.”