Maurizio and Ester Rossini spent four years looking for a suitable site to fulfil their dream of opening their own Italian restaurant in Scotland. The husband and wife team, who met in Glasgow while working at Meditteraneo in the Merchant City, ran the popular café North Star on Glasgow’s Queen Margaret Drive for eight years and wanted to offer the authentic Italian cooking they showcased there on a bigger stage.

Their aim was to stay in the West End, but prohibitively high rents forced them to look as far afield as Stirling and Hamilton. In the end, fate contrived to hand them the keys to the Hyndland Street premises where they have established Rossini the day after their first child, daughter Gaia, was born in February last year.

“She brought us luck,” says Ester Rossini, who takes care of front of house and business management at Rossini, while chef Maurizio conjures up specialities from his home region of Puglia in the kitchen.

“We wanted to bring something different from the other Italian restaurants,” says Ms Rossini, who grew up in Genoa in the north of Italy. “We felt that Glasgow was ready for this.”

The rent in Partick was affordable, but the premises required considerable renovation. The Rossinis, whose contract at North Star was in any case coming to an end, financed a refit and new furnishings through savings and a bank loan.

Since opening in July, business has been doing “okay”, says Ms Rossini, with the restaurant always full at weekends. Initiatives such as Italian sparkling afternoon tea and weekend brunches have helped bring in business at other times, while the couple work to build awareness through social media and establish the restaurant’s reputation by word of mouth – just as they did at North Star.

The watchwords at Rossini, whose southern Italian cuisine Mr Rossini defines as “Italian Italian rather than British Italian”, are authenticity and freshness. Anyone looking for spaghetti alla carbonara with added cream may be disappointed, but with dishes such as Orecchiette alla Barese (little ears pasta with Evo, turnip tops, pecorino and chilli) and Calamaro Ripieno (fried squid stuffed with egg, bread and pecorino), Rossini is carving out a niche for itself as restaurant that offers customers “something else”.

“Some people like it very much,” says Ms Rossini, who is taking book-keeping lessons to cope with the additional paperwork generated by a licensed restaurant with 45 covers and ten members of staff.

Delegating to others is one of the biggest challenges of running a restaurant rather than a small café. However, Ms Rossini is happy with the team she has built up.

“We believe in having a strong team and helping each other,” she says. “You always have to give the customers 300%, and I try to tell this to the team.”

Produce is another challenge. The restaurant sources meat, fish and eggs in Scotland, but other ingredients are imported, including a wine list chosen by the couple. With Brexit uncertainty rumbling on, this creates an unwelcome question mark over the restaurant’s future.

“We need to see how much it will cost to buy these products,” says Ms Rossini. “Let’s hope this is not going to kill our business.”

Assuming the hurdle of Brexit can be overcome, Ms Rossini sees her family staying in Scotland and running their restaurant for the foreseeable future. Her ambitions for the business are more about quality – in both business and life – than quantity.

“I don’t dream about having a chain,” she says, though the idea of opening a café is tempting, as she misses the café atmosphere. “We just want to be able to make a good living and build up our reputation. We will be happy if we can spend more time with our daughter.”