Last night I enjoyed the second meal of my life at a michelin starred restaurant. It was at Fraiche in a gorgeous little village called Oxon, on the Wirral.
We had a really lovely night, and the food (well 80% of it!) was excellent.
I would recommend it, because it was exciting, interesting and we felt very spoilt and well looked after, and actually it was relatively inexpensive (for a michelin starred restaurant).
However, would I go back there again? No, I don’t think so, not unless they radically rebranded, no.
Firstly, I wasn’t a fan of the decor. It just felt like something between a living room and a nightclub, with no natural light whatsoever.
There were blinds at the front of the restaurant, but they were shut and the rest of the restaurant was low lit and candlelit, and in honesty, it felt a bit too dark (hence the lack of any photos!). And I think I can best describe the interior as confused. Video footage of flowers and rollercoasters were projected onto the walls to create atmosphere, and a lot of the ‘slanty’ trendy furniture felt a bit tacky. It’s not that anything was individually bad as such, it just didn’t add up to create a overall alligned effect.
And this theme of disjointedness flowed into the food. It was very delicious, but it felt like it was being interesting for the sake of being modern and whacky. It seemed like ingredients frozen with liquid nitrogen kept appearing in dishes, but it didn’t necessarily improve the flavour, it felt like it was for show. For example, at the beginning of the night we had an entree of a parmesan frozen lollipop. A cool idea, but it didn’t taste of anything.
I must stress again that we did have a delightful evening, we really did. The staff were so attentive and knowledgeable – we couldn’t have felt more special, which played a huge part in us having such a great night.
There really were some stunning dishes on the menu. The wild sea bass with fennel and butter milk with a smoky squid ink crisp was awesome and beautifully plated. And the blackberry, apple and verbana mousse ‘thing’, was sweet and tart in all the right ways, it was quite something. I wish I could describe it better to you, but I’d had quite a bit of Sancerre by the 11th course, so my memory is a bit blurred.
The cheeseboard was super impressive. We got to choose five cheeses from a trolley packed with about 30 intriguing looking cheeses. Our waiter absolutely came into his own at this stage, he really knew his cheeses and was incredibly passionate. We got five gorgeous slabs with cute little accompaniments, such as quince jelly and dried blueberries, especially chosen to go with each cheese. It was good stuff.
I’m really glad I went to Fraiche, but I just feel like someone needs to sit down with the owner and get him to strip back and decide, is he running a michelin starred restaurant or a nightclub? I’d be far more interested in authentic food that’s part of a more cohesive menu served in a simple setting, as opposed to the slightly jarring food and decor we experienced.
Please note the image used is not from Fraiche restaurant, it’s a stock photo.