When talking to other North West bloggers and foodists, it amazes me how many of them have not been to what I feel is not only a serious contender (alongside L’Enclume) for the best restaurant in the region but also in the country.
Typically just serving just eight covers (the restaurant can seat 14 but is ‘fully booked’ at eight) people have said to me, “It’s impossible to get a table.” This is not true: you just need to be planning three or four months in advance!
Chef Marc Wilkinson works alone in the tiny, but well equipped kitchen to create progressive food presented as three exciting menus ‘Signature’ ‘Bespoke’ and the invite only, once a month, secretive ‘Menu Black’.
Working this way, Marc gives his all to strive for perfection; with his two front of house maestros (James and John) this is typically achieved. I have now visited Fraiche upwards of a dozen times and blogged about it on several occasions.
|Excuse the monkey card in the picture... it was my birthday meal.|
Therefore, I have forgone my usual style and decided not to write about each course, sharing my views and preferences – instead just take a look at the pictures of the twenty five courses that Marc had singlehandedly prepared and cooked; and take it as read that each one was an example of creative, tasty and delicious, Michelin-starred perfection!
Begonia Petals and Wild Strawberries in Charcoal Soil
Baby Vegetables in Chocolate Soil – highlight: baby cucumbers with their flowers
Pork Popcorn – dusted with Sumac
Epicure Potatoes – smoked and poached in butter
‘Grow Your Own’ flannels
Soft Shell Crab Tempura with Saffron Mayo
Bread selection No.1: Cheese, Five Nut, Mixed Seed and Granary & Treacle.
Hereford Beef Tartare – shallot crisps, hay ash, rocket flowers and a gherkin purée.
Morecambe Cockles in Sherry – Tempura Courgette Flower, Diced Courgette with a Yuzu Marinade and Jelly
Beans on Toast – Broad Beans on Sourdough Crisps with Feta, Rocket and Truffle
Bread selection No.2: Organic Oat, Tomato, Mushroom and Black Olive.
Smoked Eel with and Apple and Vanilla Emulsion with Watercress Ice-Cream, Fresh Apple and Coal
Confit of Quail with Maitake Mushroom and Potato Foam
Wild Turbot with Artichoke, Cauliflower Buttermilk and Puffed Wild Rice
Lamb - Braised Rump of Shoulder (Sous-vide for 30 hours and roasted), Salsify (braised in red wine), Shallot, Peas Puree & Shoots, Mushroom Pavé with Truffle.
Cheese Chariot – highlights: Wigmore (with Cider Jam) Gaperon (with Dehydrated Apple), Blue de Basque (my favourite blue) and Langres.
Fizzy Grapes – a Fraiche favourite
Fresh Yoghurt with Raspberry & Rose
Sour Cherry Panna Cotta with Dehydrated Grapes
Roasted Strawberries with Pineapple, Yoghurt Purée, Ginger Cake, Begonia Petal, Pine Nut and Brazil Nut Brittle
Éclairs – with Celery & Rhubarb Sorbet
Petit Fours (with Fresh Mint Tea)