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“Faultless - welcome back after the closure”
Review of Fraiche

Fraiche
Ranked #3 of 292 Restaurants in Birkenhead
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: French
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Reviewed June 2, 2019

I was distraught when, just before Christmas, I read that Fraiche had closed. It’s a restaurant we’ve been visiting for years. Never had a bad dish, let alone a bad meal. I emailed Marc Wilkinson to offer best wishes for the future and he replied saying he hoped to reopen in another location. So, it was with some surprise that I found he was actually staying in the original Oxton premises. It seems nothing has changed. It’s still a no choice tasting menu, cooked immaculately and served with relaxed style and professionalism. We gave a deep sigh of relief.

While you’re having an aperitif, there’s snacks to be had. A raspberry and verbena shot was a sign that, whilst Marc may have had a few months break, he’s lost none of his touch. There’s sweetness from the raspberry perfectly matched by a citrus hit from the verbena. There’s also spiced nuts, a buttermilk and trout roe rice cracker, cheese marshmallow and, perhaps best of the lot, a smoked eel sandwich.

Once at the table, we checked that, as before, there are only eight covers in the restaurant, with seven bums on seats. It’s probably as many as Marc can deal with on his own in the kitchen. For a first course there was diced watermelon. I can still remember our first meal at Fraiche, eleven years ago, when it was also watermelon to start. Then it was mixed with raw tuna so you couldn’t really tell which was which until it went into your mouth. Now, there’s cubes of salty feta and a whack from basil. Smoked salmon follows, in a light dashi broth, with a crunch from small dice of cucumber. Bread was served round about now – four different ones – the fennel one being a stunner, IMO

Next up, a set parsley cream was topped with thinly sliced raw (?) scallop and a shaving of truffle. Then a more assertively flavoured “textures of artichoke” dish – sliced raw Jerusalem artichoke, an ice cream, a crisp and, probably, other preparations that I’ve forgotten. For contrast there sweetness from a passion fruit jelly and crunch from hazelnut. It all works really well. Sea trout had been lightly cooked – I think I recall Marc doesn’t use a sous vide machine so I guess this had just been poached. It comes with a squid ink cracker, salty samphire and a lovely passion fruit mayo. On every single previous visit to Fraiche, the fish has been over favourite course and, at this point, it was the front runner.

The final savoury course was an intricate preparation of Cumbrian lamb. There’s a slice of perfectly pink loin (?) and some long cooked breast. There’s also classic French lamb accompaniments – black olives in the form of a crisp, shallot, tomato and aubergine.

Pre-dessert was a knockout combination of yuzu, orange and a little background hint of liquorice. Texture was more than a foam but less than a mousse. It’s really good. At the beginning of the meal, you’re asked whether you want to end it with “salt or sugar”. Salt gets you cheese. Sugar gets you a dessert which proved to be the best course of the evening – and it’s rare that we would say that. It’s another “textures” thing – this time of exceptionally flavoured Gariguette strawberries. They sit on a shortbread (?) tart and there’s fresh berries, marinated ones, a gel and an ice cream as well as a coconut meringue crisp.

Coffee was good although somehow during their closure the espresso machine went missing, so we had to settle for a cafetiere. Petit fours were excellent. It had been a lovely evening when we “oooh and ahh’d” over the food several times. And then it was off into the night having, in truth, paid a bill that was remarkably good value for this quality. Oh yes, and there’s a little pack of homemade hobnobs to take away just in case we get peckish on the hour’s drive home.

Date of visit: June 2019
Thank harters
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1 - 5 of 282 reviews

Reviewed April 24, 2019

we have had the privilege of eating here many times, and are never disappointed. Tom at front of house takes great care of us each time. The last time we went the best dish was a smoked eel sandwich, I hope its the still on the menu next time we go!

Date of visit: December 2018
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Thank lifemonch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 19, 2019

We have been lucky to have dined here several times in the past 15 years and always feel like we have won the lottery when we manage to secure a table at this exceptional restaurant. We had the pleasure of dining here again last night. From the minute you walk into Fraiche, your senses are taken on a sensational journey. Everything is so carefully thought out and presented beautifully. The care that has been taken over the whole dining experience is incredible. The food is like nectar from the gods - the flavours, textures and presentation are exquisite. I have never tasted food of this standard anywhere else. The service is excellent and the two members of staff who served us were so pleasant and made sure our experience was wonderful from start to finish. Marc Wilkinson is a truly amazing chef, who is so very talented. If I was to sum up this restaurant in one word, I would say it is truly 'magical'.

Date of visit: April 2019
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Thank Nicola L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 18, 2019

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.

Date of visit: March 2019
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Thank grebex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 11, 2019

We had the pleasure of attending Fraiche on the second night of a soft opening following a couple of months of closure during which the restaurant got a make over - chef turning his hand back to changing the decor and the soundtrack for a new season. The FOH team was completely new and it was obvious that they weren't QUITE on point yet, but they were courteous and friendly, almost avuncular. The lead male certainly felt like he'd known you before in another life. The food was just superb. Beautifully presented and full of surprising textural and flavour twists. There were some nods to the pre-2019 Fraiche (candied pecans and lip lollies anyone?) but Marc has managed to take a successful brand and polish it just a little bit more! Can't wait to return.

Date of visit: March 2019
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1  Thank Decker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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