Not so much 'au revoir' as 'nice to see you again' - Marc Wilkinson closed Fraiche on 14 December 2018, with a view to transplanting it elsewhere. But his plans changed though, and this mainstay of the North West dining scene has now re-opened.
Harden's survey result
“Year on year Marc Williamson keeps providing a sublime experience that I happily travel up from London for!” – that’s the level of enthusiasm provoked by this 12-seater on the fringe of Birkenhead which is now acknowledged (with a bit of help from this guide over the years) as one of the UK’s foremost destinations: “a must-do, with a warm welcome, fabulous relaxing atmosphere and exceptional food and wine”.
“There is nowhere better in the North West” than Marc Williamson’s “very special” 12-seater on the fringe of Birkenhead. “Very much a labour of the chef’s love, it is unique and hard to compare as his talent is invested into every conceivable aspect of the experience”. “It’s a fantastic effort all around, the music, the ambience; staff who are excellent, attentive, friendly and professional; but the best is the food, with exceptional taste and flavours”. And it has “a brilliant wine list – exciting and well priced – for a small restaurant” too.
“Mark Wilkinson seems to be taking the cuisine to another level” at his “small but perfectly formed” 12-cover foodie Mecca, on the fringe of Birkenhead. His “dazzling, flavour-packed and perfect” dishes are married with “playful” décor and “superb and attentive” service. “Hard to get a booking, but worth the hassle!”
“It’s impossible to book” nowadays at Marc Wilkinson’s “one-of-a-kind” (and fairly small) Wirral dining room (perhaps something to do with his success last year, when he topped our Top-100 UK Restaurants?) “You should keep trying though as you won’t be disappointed” – “brilliant dish follows brilliant dish” from “an amazing menu full of surprises”.
Fraiche Restaurant Diner Reviews
"fantastic innovative food. don't miss this one"
"We have been fortunate enough to eat at Fraiche on a regular basis over the last few years. We ate there last weekend and the food was sublime. The new decor is warm and welcoming and Marc retains his magic touch. No doubt it will continue to be as difficult as ever to get a booking once he opens again fully. I wish him well with Fraiche 19."
"Having been fortunate to have dined at Fraiche a few times, we always expect nothing but perfection, yet with every visit Marc surprises us with more breathtaking food. The execution of each dish is impeccable, every element balances and compliments each other perfectly. The decor, lighting and soundtrack, everything has been carefully chosen to compliment the food. Words simply cannot describe the sublime sensations when dining at Fraiche. Thank you Marc for the relentless passion and bringing magic to the culinary world."
"Described as a dining experience....which might sound pretentious but it’s not....a great very welcoming experience from walking in the door via around 15 tasty things......to coffee and sweets....amazing flavours, amazing textures...amazing experience....just had a great evening"
"Fabulous restaurant with amazing food. Marc's cooking just gets better and better."
"We had the pleasure of dining here for the second night of the soft launch. The food continues to impress with clever twists on more traditional themes and food that deserves to be photographed. As it was only just opening front of house was not as polished as we may be used to but it was enthusiastic and stayed just the right side of professional and friendly. Marc Wilkinson continues to amaze!"
"It was immediately obvious that things had developed since our last visit. It is still very difficult to get a booking on any particular day and we were lucky enough to find a relatively convenient date on the first day of booking for three months ahead, but we were not prepared for the digitalisation of the menu - we were handed an iPad style screen with the details of the dishes and a very spare wine list, which made no distinction between by-the-glass and bottle, apart from the price, and the relative cheapness of some of the bottles made one imagine that they might be halves. The wondrous glass wall sculptures had been replaced by computerised light shows, a shame in our eyes, and the seating arrangement was more akin to an 80s coffee bar set-up. We just hoped that the food, which had previously raved about, would still have that wow factor and the almost poetic note shown in the anonymous little handout accompanying the menu. The canapés started arriving almost before we had settled in, a red pepper shot preceding spiced pecans, which were followed by cheese jelly with pine nuts, a yuzu gel and a clever sourdough cream, and then, in quick order, a tomato mousse with small chunks of feta. The West Country smoked salmon was elevated by a super bergamot cream and some smoked almonds, but the overall pleasure was diminished by the grated pineapple, even though it was not as acidic as it might have been. The Orkney scallops with a dashi sauce, grape gel, samphire, and hints of radish had an almost caramelised note which was not very pleasant. Granary and treacle breads were then served before the next course which took the form of a parsley mousse backed up by hazelnuts, garden salad leaves and buttermilk cream, and which was quite unremarkable. A tiny and not uniformly perfect portion of monkfish followed supported by rather bland carrot cream, trendy puffed rice, and accents of black olive. Not for the first time we were told that the reason for importing guinea fowl from the Loire was that it is simply superior to anything in the UK, and it has to be said that the bird was outstanding - the confit leg in particular - as was the artichoke heart, although the textures of onion, the ceps, and the nasturtium leaves did nothing to help. The two desserts, apricot sorbet with rice and frozen lemon verbena, and blackberries with coffee meringue, white strawberries and pistachio cake failed to make a lasting impression. Our fond memories were not lived up to."
|Wine per bottle||£25.50|
11 Rose Mount, Oxton, CH43 5SG
|Wednesday||7 pm-9:30 pm|
|Thursday||7 pm-9:30 pm|
|Friday||12 pm-1:30 pm, 7 pm-9:30 pm|
|Saturday||12 pm-1:30 pm, 7 pm-9:30 pm|
|Sunday||12 pm-1:30 pm, 7 pm-9:30 pm|