The chef-owner of Fraiche calls it a day in Oxton - but says the restaurant will go on
The chef-owner of Merseyside's only Michelin-starred restaurant has announced that it will close next month.
Speaking to Confidential, Marc Wilkinson said Fraiche - which has held a star since 2009 - would serve its last diners on December 14th, as the building in Oxton, Birkenhead has been put up for sale by the landlord.
However, Huyton-born Wilkinson insists it will not be the end of the restaurant - which was named the best in the UK by the Sunday Times in 2014.
"The building is for sale, but Fraiche is safe," says Wilkinson. "We'll reopen next year. I can't reveal a location just yet, but we are in talks."
Asked whether he would take the opportunity to increase the size of the famously intimate restaurant - which seats just ten diners - Wilkinson said he'd like it to be "a bit bigger, without losing that personal touch."
"Right now everything is me: the food, the decor, the wine list, the music... I wouldn't want to open a 100 cover restaurant, it's just not me."
But with room for just ten people for dinner from Wednesday to Saturday, plus a lunch service on Sunday, how has he kept going?
"There's one reason Fraiche has survived for so long," says Wilkinson, "and that's because I'm so cheap."
Here's what the Top 100 Restaurants in the North West guide says about Fraiche:
Merseyside’s fine dining star. This tiny restaurant is home to an artist behind the pass. Having been rated as a ‘rising star’ by the Michelin Guide in 2006 and 2007, the restaurant finally secured the real thing in 2009 which Francophile Marc Wilkinson has since upheld with ease.
The signature menu starts as it means to go on, an almond gazpacho with cherry and asparagus introducing the kind of flavour trickery on offer. Dishes are deceptively listed – Gressingham duck, cocoa crisp, and kohlrabi, for example, or carrot textures, feta, and pain d’épice – which belies the molecular tricks at the core of Wilkinson’s style. Even so, the cooking is characterised by pleasure, which also applies to the remarkably reasonable wine list. With bottles from around £20, it’s affordable – even the ‘fine selection’ with Burgundy from around £60.
Expect cooking inspired by France’s bleeding edge in this unique space. Commissioned glass sculptures and suede are themes; strangely, it works.
Fraiche is expected to reopen in a new location in 2019.