‘Visionary’ Merseyside chef shifts to Shropshire

Mould-breaking chef Marc Wilkinson is shifting his restaurant Fraiche from Merseyside to a new rural location in Shropshire, where he will resume service this summer.

He announced the move in a Facebook post, ending five years of uncertainty over the future of Fraiche. Marc – hailed as “a genius” in the 2023 Harden’s guide – opened the tiny restaurant in the village of Oxton on the Wirral in 2004, and works alone in the kitchen to send out multi-course meals to a dozen or so diners. Fraiche has been listed in the Harden’s 100 as Britain’s best restaurant more than once, most recently in 2020.

It was widely – but erroneously – reported last year that the restaurant had closed, and the current Harden’s guide notes that “Marc is hunting for new premises, though, and if he finds them changes will be afoot“.

He has yet to reveal exactly where in Shropshire the new venue will be, although it is likely to be bigger than the current site, a converted shop. We can also expect him to maintain hands-on control of the decor, visuals and soundtrack, in keeping with his very personal vision.

Marc’s post reads: “The eagle eyed local guests may have noticed the Fraiche signage has been removed and the infamous moon is now down and safely into my back pack. This can only mean Fraiche is indeed on the move, and I leave Oxton filled with many memories and pride of what I have achieved so far with Fraiche, not forgetting the wonderful people I have met along the way.

Now it’s time to evolve Fraiche and relocate it to the stunning countryside of Shropshire. A huge thank you to all who have supported the restaurant and hope some of you venture down to try the new environment this summer.

Bookings will be released on the 1st of June on our new website at Fraiche. The menu style will continue at the same high standards, the chef and of course octopus and the moon will be reassuringly familiar to you and unfortunately you will still have to suffer Prince on the playlist. One new bonus for guests will be the option to stay over in my guest room and we will now offer private parking which is such a luxury compared to the gridlocked village I leave behind.

Meanwhile, the Fraiche site in Oxton has been snapped up by a locally born chef heading in the opposite direction – Andrew Sheridan, who has moved his acclaimed Birmingham restaurant 8 to Liverpool, where it is due to open this week in the Cavern quarter.

Andrew’s new restaurant Oxa (from the Norse origins of the name Oxton) opens next month, serving ‘seasonal British produce and nostalgic flavours’. He said: “It’s a dream come true to open a restaurant in the village I grew up in.”

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