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culinary bear

Fraiche

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Well - we had our first meal there on Wednesday, and it was great. There have been a few detailed reviews here, so I won't go into depth. We had the bespoke menu, and the main comments I'd make are:

Loved the spiced pecan nuts and the sumac and yogurt tapioca (particularly the purple crisps - black rice ones I think). The salted berry chocolate didn't work for me as an amuse bouche (sticks in your teeth for too long at that stage in a meal), but I know the aim is to surprise people at the start, rather than give them the usual cappuccino-type soup thingy. I like the lollipops though - the coconut and seeded ones were both great. Enjoyed the "five a day" shot that they came with, but it didn't blow me away.

Our three favourite dishes were:

The warm winter salad: a great mix of flavours - egg yolk, foie gras, celariac. Beautiful.

The seabass with hazelnut quinoa: fab - I'm no hazelnut fan, but it worked well with the quinoa, and the fish was cooked perfectly. It was the only dish I felt needed salt, and I only added a tiny bit, but as soon as I did it was lifted to even greater heights.

The Loire quail: my husband's favourite, and almost mine - perfectly cooked, with spinach and parsley root. Loved it.

I prefer savoury to sweet, but the desserts were all great. My favourite, and I think the most interesting was the mango crumble with tamarind sorbet. The final one - and probably the richest - was called chocolate, apricot, sherry. It was a bit too much for me by that stage, but very good none the less.

Lovely service - the only (minor) problem for us was that there was no-one there who could advise us on wine. It's a small place, so I don't think anyone would expect a sommelier, but someone with a bit of knowledge on the not small wine list would be useful ...

We loved it and will go again as soon as we can afford it. It's great having something of this class so near to where we live. Thanks to Marc and the team.

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We chanced a walk in today for lunch.

We were looking for something nice to do - Baslow hall were doing rooms at £50, due to the weather, so I rang, they were really nice; and honest about the weather. The frost and fog in Derbyshire put me off.

So we went shopping for a few bits in an Asian store in Liverpool, then headed towards the Thai shop near Prenton.

Fraiche is only around the corner from Prenton, so we had nothing to loose dropping in. Lights on. Front of house staff. It looked promising. Fully booked. Bugger.

Its a little over a year since my last visit. It was a bit like missing a penalty, you almost feel sure you will score, but then... the ball ends up in the stand!

After a bit more retail therapy at the Thai shop we considered Thornton hall (ex chester grosvenor chef) or Thai in Hoylake but ended up trying the (new) collingwood (I will add more elsewhere).

Close, but no cigar. Must try harder. Me, that is.


Edited by MaLO (log)

Martin

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Marc when you say in the interview you started alone (I still remember The Caterer that featured you opening) does that mean no servers, Just you front & back?


“Do you not find that bacon, sausage, egg, chips, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and a cup of tea; is a meal in itself really?” Hovis Presley.

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Marc when you say in the interview you started alone (I still remember The Caterer that featured you opening) does that mean no servers, Just you front & back?


“Do you not find that bacon, sausage, egg, chips, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and a cup of tea; is a meal in itself really?” Hovis Presley.

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hi there adey, no it was meant to say that i set up the restaurant alone , yes there were staff but no backers or partners to aid the launch, so i was saying never do that alone haha its too hard :blink:

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Anyone been recently?

Report with photos would be great. Just to get the taste buds going.

I know Marc's always booked months in advance making it a serious foodie haunt but no activity on here?

Managed to get a cancellation, just for lunch, which is equally hard to come by. So my report with pics will follow in a couple of weeks time.

Worth the visit just for the fantastic bread.

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I managed to get a reservation for June. First visit in a long time. Looking forward to it.


Martin

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Grief! I realise that it's 2 years since we were last there. Too long. Far too long.


John Hartley

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Trying to score a reservation for June (their online system seems to be playing up). I see from the website that the menu has been pared back to a simpler six course affair at £58 - although I'm not sure if Menu Black is still available to favoured punters.

Just by the by, speaking of Oxton, I see Claire Lara, winner of "Masterchef the Professionals" has opened her restaurant at the Riverhill Hotel. Looks like a fairly standard "Modern Brit" offering at reasonable prices.


John Hartley

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Trying to score a reservation for June (their online system seems to be playing up). I see from the website that the menu has been pared back to a simpler six course affair at £58 - although I'm not sure if Menu Black is still available to favoured punters.

Just by the by, speaking of Oxton, I see Claire Lara, winner of "Masterchef the Professionals" has opened her restaurant at the Riverhill Hotel. Looks like a fairly standard "Modern Brit" offering at reasonable prices.

If you phone in the mornings Marc normally answers.

I guess its about 4/5 or even 6 weeks ago since I phoned to bag a lunch table with no luck. Then out of the blue last week I get a phone call off Marc for one middle of this month.

I looked at the website myself and was surprised no "bespoke" was on there. I do know for a fact Menu Black is available because I have been looking at his twitter account

I'm not a stalker guvnor. Honest. :wink:

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Sent 'em an email.

Ah, well, if I can get in, then it's Menu Black for Mr & Mrs H.Or Bespoke. Or the 6 courser. I'm really not fussed - we'll be happy to eat whatever Marc puts in front of us.


Edited by Harters (log)

John Hartley

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I asked about menu black when I went to sort the reservation / deposit.

I think menu black night is June 2nd.


Martin

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Just had a reply from Marc. Apparently menu black is now only once a month (next on 2 June)by invitation. Unfortunately we have a family birthday committment that day so we've made a reservation for the 6th on the 6 courser.

Maybe we should have an egullet outing to Oxton later in the year and give the black menu a good seeing to?


John Hartley

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Well, today we have been mostly been eating Marc Wilkinson's food. In fact I think apart from a very lite snack, that is all we will be eating.

A long overdue return considering its perhaps just an hour fifteen, thirty minutes (subject to traffic) up the road. Trouble is we rarely book too far in advance and getting a table here at short notice is nigh on impossible, except this time we got a cancellation. Having said that however, it still took us four perhaps five weeks.

Not sure how many days lunch is served, perhaps just Friday, Saturday, Sunday. More and more we prefer lunch service, late nights do not do it for us anymore especially if I am driving a long distance after a big meal. On the plus side of course some of the best bargains are to be had at lunch just to get bums on seats.

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Some tasty spiced pecans were placed on the table for our pleasure whilst the kitchen cooked our food.

A bit of fun next, which was on the menu as The kiss The lips reminded me of something off a Rolling Stones album and they were in fact part of a bloody mary cocktail especially when our server sprayed some Grey Goose vodka over them. Fun.

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Reading like a five courser on the menu, with The kiss as an extra header the first course was entitled Potato cream. coffee/ montgomery.

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Montgomery is of course cheddar cheese and this dinky little pot of goodness came with some extremely addictive crispy poppy seed bites, and squid ink crisps.

One thing I really look forward to at Fraiche is the very excellent bread, and four little buns arrived as follows. Granary and treacle, five nuts, cheese, and mixed seed. Butters were unsalted Goats butter, and slightly salted Cows butter with Hawaiian sea salt.

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Cauliflower cheese, beafort/ mint was plated similarly, and reminded me of a dish that we ate at Tom Aikens a couple of weeks ago. This rendition was roasted, pickled, raw, and poached cauliflower with mustard and mint dressing, rocket, olive oil powder and a beaufort cheese crisp. A simple vegetable given the royal treatment by a good chef.

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We were looking forward to the next course, at least I was, perhaps not so very much for the Wild Cornish brill fillet but more the briney cockles, dashi broth, and oyster leaf.

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Beautifully plated and eating rather well, subtle but complex we really liked this.

Second serving of bread next. Mushroom, tomato and olive oil, black olive, and organic oat. My, My.

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I think Marc must know that quail is one of my favourite eats, I would like to think that this was why it was on the menu, although then again,perhaps not. This one was from all the way from France. Loire quail, parsley root/beetroot.

Now I'm fairly certain our waiter said that the quail was roasted? It was so tender I could have sworn it would be sous vide, but what do I know. Perhaps it was and then finished off in the oven. Whatever, it was cooked to perfection, truly excellent flavour. Did it have a glaze of some sort, not sure?

The dainty little legs were confit and by golly did that work.

Also on the plate were roasted shallots, parsley root puree, pak choi, poached beetroot, potato crisp and truffle. Excellent.

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Another fun little diversion, and one that we have had before were the Fizzy grapes)

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There was a choice of cheese (at no extra charge) or dessert. I tried the cheese which looked fabulous on the chariot.

Whilst the cheese choice was being explained to me, a surprise dessert arrived for my wife. Having the feel of a superior bath sponge, a featherly lite Chocolate cake with cherry toothpaste.

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We shared the cheese and in tune with the extreme generosity of the restaurant the normal four choice turned into six. Really spoilt for choice I chose bleu de basques, an artisan sheeps milk cheese. Some chabichou, Calvados camembert, A cheese washed in champagne? Plus?

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A cracker selection was served along with some jelly and various fruit. vis apricot, apple.

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Surprise, surprise Cilla (well we are close to Liverpool) a cracking dessert arrived next. Simply listed as Chocolate textures this did indeed look the part. Arriving in three pots for full effect, I could not wait to try a spoonful,(or three).

Witness, chocolate mousse, milk crumb, ? brittle and chocolate foam. Fresh cherry, chocolate clafoutis and a cherry ice lolly. Yum, yum.

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Well, well, what a fantastic lunch. from start to finish not one hiccup and incredible value. Lots of extra bits and bobs, as good as any evening tasting menu currently on offer.

As it would happen, it was unbeknown to me until this morning that this was our wedding aniversary. Ok its a man thing I,m ashamed to admit forgetting. So we had a glass of champers each, three glasses of wine and a glass of port between us, no coffees, tap water.

All of the above food and with a tip the bill only came to £110. Incredible value.

Be prepared for a couple of months wait for a table, or do as we did and ask for a cancellation, but whatever you do . Go.

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thanks david nice pictures, sorry didnt get to speak to you,in answer to your question our menu black is once a month now, though we can arrange an egullet one no problem, if people are interested i can arrange a date exclusive to egulleters.

regards

marc at fraiche

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thanks david nice pictures, sorry didnt get to speak to you,in answer to your question our menu black is once a month now, though we can arrange an egullet one no problem, if people are interested i can arrange a date exclusive to egulleters.

regards

marc at fraiche

Thanks for the vote of confidence on the photos Marc. Nice to know a chef approves.

We guessed you were busy, and we had to dash ourselves because of the rush hour traffic. My Missus advised me not to poke my head in the kitchen at the end because she knows how much I rabbit on once I get started. :smile:

Can't commit too much on the menu black at present as we have quite a bit pencilled in for the next month or so, but keep me informed of any developments would you please, we would like to give it a whirl.

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It’s been far too long since our last meal at Fraiche and, in truth, we’d started to forget just how good it is. There’s been changes since the last visit – the menu is pared down a bit and so is the price. And Menu Black is now on just once a month. Front of house are youngish, very cheery and thoroughly professional. I like the changes and I like the things that havn’t changed – the relaxed formality of the place and, most of all, the clever, clever cooking.

There were spiced pecans to kick off while we sipped our aperitif. Once at the table, pork popcorn, lightly dusted with sumac, was as good a nibble as you might want to come across. Then it was on to the first course – potato foam (OK, it’s a soup) topped with a little grating of Montgomery Cheddar. Absolutely lovely in itself but everything heightened when served with thin crisps – one squid ink, the other poppy seed.

We’re never going to be the biggest fan of foie gras (too many ethical issues at the back of our minds) but here it was served with rhubarb which did an excellent job of cutting through the richness. Bread is always a big feature at Fraiche and it was around this point that the first serving came – four small rolls. Can’t recall them all but there was treacle granary and a goats cheese which were really good. Two sorts of butter – a cow’s milk one, made on the premises, I think and a goats milk one, flavoured with Hawaiian sea salt (not that I could tell the difference between the American one and my favourite Halen Mon).

Fish next – something I’ve always reckoned Marc excels at cooking. A fillet of bass, just cooked through, a little dice of courgette, parsley quinoa. And a tempura courgette flower which was a stroke of genuis. Perfect for my tastes.

Second serving of bread around now – another four rolls with a stand-out olive just taking first place for us, from the tomato one.

Gressingham duck was another perfect bit of cookery. Pink and moist with no hint of the “almost raw” that you can come across when a chef is trying too hard. A little roasted shallot, celeriac, roasted Little Gem and a cocoa crisp. The latter shouldn’t have worked – the cocoa flavour was quite intense – but it did. This is exactly the sort of food I really want to eat.

Next up, a long time Fraiche favourite – the fizzy grapes. This is the third time I’ve had them and they still make me smile.

There was then an unadvertised chocolate cake. Light as the proverbial feather and not too sweet. It’s served with a mini “toothpaste tube” of, I think, apricot puree to squirt over.

Lemongrass panna cotta was a work of genius. Yes, you might say it was just panna cotta. But this was bang-on panna cotta – both in taste and texture. And when it’s topped with a sour cherry mousse, to my mind it becomes a near perfect dessert.

Finally there’s an offer of cheese or a final dessert. We picked dessert but almost regretted it when we saw the cheese trolley offered to the next table. Something like 25 different offerings, mostly French, were explained and they looked in superb condition. We’d picked the “chocolate textures” – mousse, apricot (?) sorbet, some other bits and bobs that I’ve forgotten.

Well, when I say a final dessert, it wasn’t. Last up, a small jam jar filled with a peanut butter custard was sweet and savoury as you’d expect.

To finish, espresso and petit fours. Excellent petit fours. A peanut crisp, a meringue looking like a pink breadstick, a goats cheese and chocolate affair and an intense “After Eight” mint thingy. Really good.


John Hartley

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We had a very good dinner here on Saturday.

Pre meal nibbles of Pecans and Pork Popcorn dusted with Sumac were followed by a course called From The Garden. This comprised a selection of very tasty morsels, tiny wild strawberries with begonia flowers, baby turnips with edible soil, tempura courgette flower and some lightly smoked new potatoes. Everything looked and tasted great. The raw turnip was deeply peppery and the strawberries, one of which was white and looked unripe, were in fact as sweet and perfect a strawberry I have tasted outside those I grow and eat within seconds of picking.

Beetroot Textures followed. Beetroot is something I enjoy and I enjoyed this. It was a vivid looking plate of beetroot prepared numerous ways and different temperatures. Sea buckthorn came as a sorbet, a little pain d’epice and a little creamy cheese finished things off.

Wild Turbot with Aubergine and Asparagus. This came with a little pot of shitake tea, raw and cooked asparagus and aubergine. This one was demolished pretty quickly.

Loire Guinea Fowl with Shallot and Roasted Lettuce. The Breast came lightly cooked with crisp skin cooked separately and boneless leg looking and tasting more roasted. A little sliced truffle, lettuce, roasted and raw shallot and another fine plateful was gone.

Optional cheese or dessert or cheese and dessert. It was a cheeses and dessert kind of day. We got some runny Epoisses, Langres, something Corsican with herbs, Taupinere which is a very nice goat’s cheese, not something I often say, and a cow’s milk cheese from Sussex a little like a camembert or similar and something else I can’t recall the name of (It was quite orange!).

Lemongrass Panna Cotta with Sour Cherry followed. There has been a panna cotta of some description every time I have eaten here and this like all the others was very good.

The final dessert was on the menu as Mango Clafoutis. It came as a gooey chocolate fondant type thing topping the mango. A mango cocktail in a shot glass, a coco nib lolly and more.

Finally came a little pot of Peanut Butter and Orange.

There were also the excellent breads. I have not adequately described some of the dishes but as a general summary it was all excellent. Service was really good too. It was the first time I had managed to make a reservation for well over a year going on for two. I am hoping to go back a lot sooner.

We supped a bottle of Pol Roger, a couple of glasses of Volnay, a glass of Port and ended with a glass of something sweet from Hollick recommended by our excellent waiter.

All very enjoyable. I think I will have to try to fit in another visit for menu black.


Martin

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WOW , you guys are having a great time of it are`nt ya ? Looks like im well overdue a visit to Fraiche....must check the diary. Thanks for the great photos David , looked awesome. Cheers.


CumbriafoodieCumbriafoodie

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Sunday lunch at fraiche is my new favourite thing. Excellent food, great wines, brilliant service.

To eat - spiced pecans first.

Next; mussels in a light creamy sauce with yuzu,and herbs.

Hens egg slowly cooked with a couple of preperations of cauilflower followed. Very, very delicioius.

Russet potatoes came with feta and watercress and truffle.

Potato truffle at friche.jpg

Monkfish with olive and blood orange was beautiful.

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Black faced lamb with leeks, salsify and shallots. This was marvellous too!

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We each had some cheese. James keeps a great cheese trolley.

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Two different desserts. Mine was pear.

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The other was passion fruit and coffee meringues and other good stuff

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We had nice wine, Elena Walch cab sauv, a reisling and other good stuff too! Very decent prices too.

A great Sunday lunch. Food and service was fantastic. If you have not been you should give it a go!

Fraiche cheese.jpg


Martin

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I have no idea why the cheese pic is at the end. It is great cheese though so perhaps it is quite proper that the cheese hogs the spotlight!!

Oh, i didn't mention the compressed water mellon and caviar either....................


Edited by MaLO (log)

Martin

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